With a foreword by JOHN STEINBECK
Hunois History and
LIBRARY I). OF I. URBANA-CHAMPAIGM
With a Foreword by
Brief Biography of
DEBS MYERS and RALPH MARTIN
RANDOM HOUSE • NEW YORK
Copyright, 1952, by Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions
Published in New York by Random House, Inc., and simultaneously
in Toronto, Canada, by Random House of Canada, Limited
This book was prepared under the
editorial supervision of
Manufactured in the United States of America
Foreword by John Steinbeck 5
A Brief Biography of Adlai Stevenson by Debs Myers
and Ralph Martin 9
Welcoming Address democratic national convention 15
Speech of Acceptance democratic national convention 18
The Need for a Change denver, Colorado 22
On Political Morality los angeles, California 28
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 37
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN 44
HAMTRAMCK, MICHIGAN 48
DETROIT, MICHIGAN 51
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR CONVENTION,
NEW YORK CITY 57
Farm Policy kasson, Minnesota 64
Social Security flint, Michigan 71
The People's Natural Resources Seattle, Washington 74
The Veteran new york city 80
The New South Richmond, vdrginia 85
The Atomic Future hartford, Connecticut 92
On Communism albuquerque, new mexico 98
The One-Party Press Portland, oregon 101
Campaign Issues phoenix, Arizona 106
Korea louisville, Kentucky 112
Questions and Answers Portland, oregon 119
The Control of Inflation Baltimore, Maryland 121
. . . The task is yours. Yours is a democracy. Its government cannot be
stronger or more tough-minded than its people. It cannot be more
inflexibly committed to the task than they. It cannot be wiser than
As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the
lawgivers and the law abiding, the beginning and the end. Democracy
is a high privilege, but it is also a heavy responsibility whose shadow
stalks, although you may never walk in the sun.
I say these things to you, not only because I believe them to be
true, but also because, as you love your country, I love my country, and
I would see it endure and grow in light and become a living testament
to all mankind of goodness and of mercy and of wisdom.
How long can we keep up the fight against this monster tyranny?
How long can we keep on fighting in Korea, paying high taxes, help-
ing others to help ourselves? There is only one answer— we can keep
it up as long as we have to, and we will.
That's why we cannot lose and we will pass from darkness to the
dawn of a brighter day than ever this priceless land of ours has known
Chicago, Illinois, September 29, 1952
When I first met Mr. Roosevelt he had been President for some time.
I said, "Mr. President, I'm one American who doesn't want a Gov-
He laughed and said, "In my experience, you're the only one."
Mr. Stevenson, I still don't want a Government job.
A year and a half ago, I had never heard of Mr. Stevenson. A
year ago I knew his name and only remembered it because of the un-
usual first name. Until the convention I had never heard nor read a
Stevensonian word. And now we hurry through dinner to hear him
on radio or to see him on television. We fight over the morning paper
with the "full text." And I can't remember ever reading a political
speech with pleasure— sometimes with admiration, yes, but never
I was in Europe at convention time. Europe was, as nearly as we
could tell, pretty solidly behind Eisenhower. So was I, as solid as pos-
sible. Then gradually the newspapers in France and England and
Italy began to print remarks by a man named Stevenson, first a
phrase, then a sentence, then a paragraph. When I left England very
recently nearly every newspaper was printing a daily Stevenson box
on the front page. Europe has switched to Stevenson. So have I. And
I have been drawn only by his speeches. They are unique in my ex-
perience and from the reaction of the audiences— and I have only
seen them on television— the speeches are a new experience to every-
one. The listeners set up no hullabaloo. The speaker is never can-
celed out by emotional roars of inattentive applause. People seem to
resent applause because in the noise they might miss something. I've
read that the meetings are quiet because the audiences are not moved.
Then I've watched them leaning forward, their eyes never leaving
the speaker's face and turning irritably toward any distraction. They're
listening, all right, listening as an audience does to fine theatre or fine
music or fine thinking.
It is one of our less admirable traits that we always underrate
the intelligence of the "people." The speaker never includes himself
as one of the "people." It is always those others. The story is told of a
movie producer who argued that people would not understand a
part of a film he was previewing. His nine-year-old boy spoke up,
saying, "Dad, I understand it."
The producer whirled on him and shouted, "We are not making
pictures for nine-year-old boys."
Now I read in the opposition press that Stevenson is talking over
the heads of the people. I have read the speeches not once but sev-
eral times. The words are small and direct, the ideas are clear. I can
understand them and I don't think I am more intelligent than the so-
called "people." I have come to the conclusion that the fear in Steven-
son's opponents is not that the people don't understand him, but that
Throughout our whole history we have been in favor of humor.
To be against humor was like being against mother love. But I read
now that humor has been made an official sin. Anything effective is a
sin to your opponent. Traditionally, political humor has followed a
pattern. The speaker made a joke which had been carefully inspected
to see that it had nothing whatever to do with the subject he in-
tended to discuss. The flat little joke got a titter of laughter and the
speaker knew that his audience was warmed up. He flopped without
transition into the body of his speech, hoping that for a few sentences
his listeners would still be listening for another joke. Audiences are
pretty clever, though, and they rarely fall for this method.
Stevenson has changed the technique. He draws his humor from
his subject. His jokes, far from obscuring his message, enlighten it.
This makes him doubly dangerous to an opponent, for his listeners
not only listen, they remember and they repeat. I don't recall any
other speeches that have made people unsatisfied with a digest. We
want the thing in the man's own words.
Being a writer, I have had a bit of trouble here and there, and it
has been my experience that when I have been accused of some par-
ticularly gaudy sin, my accuser has felt some kind of knife and is
striking back. I can understand why the opposition hates Mr. Stevenson's
humor. They are very busy licking their wounds. In our whole political
history I can recall only one man who used humor effectively. That
was Abraham Lincoln and he, too, was excoriated by his opponents.
In his time also humor was a sin.
There is a further devastating effect of the Stevensonian speech,
which his opponents cannot admit. He makes their efforts sound so ill
conceived, clumsily thought out and dull. The weighty sarcasms, moral
indignations, the flaggy patriotisms and dingy platitudes which have
been perfectly good in other elections are covered with gray dust in
this year. It is very hard to follow a great act with a Minsky blackout.
Now and then in a group the question arises, Does Stevenson write
his own speeches? I don't know, but as a writer I know that only one
man writes those speeches. There may be people working on ideas and
organization and so forth, but I am sure that either Stevenson writes
every word of the speeches or some other one man writes every word of
them. Individuality is in every line. I don't think it could be imitated.
I have dwelt only on Mr. Stevenson's speeches because that is all
I know about the man. There are only four approaches in knowing a
man. What does he look like? What has he done? What does he say— in
other words think— and, last and most important, as a conditioner—
what has he done to or for me?
I know Mr. Stevenson only from pictures of him, from reading his
history and from his speeches. I was for Eisenhower, knew about him
and liked him. I did not switch to Stevenson because of physical appear-
ance, surely. Neither candidate is any great shucks in that department.
I could not have changed on a basis of past achievements because
Eisenhower's contribution is second to none in the world and certainly
overshadows the record of the Governor of Illinois, no matter how good
it may have been. I have switched entirely because of the speeches.
A man cannot think muddled and write clear. Day by day it has
seemed to me that Eisenhower's speeches have become more formless
and mixed up and uncertain. I don't know why this is. Maybe he is
being worried and mauled by too many dissident advisers who in
fighting each other are destroying their candidate. Eisenhower seems
like a punch-drunk fighter who comes out of his corner on wavery legs
and throws his first punch at the referee. Again, Eisenhower seems to
have lost the ability to take any kind of stand on any subject. We're
pretty sure that he still favors children or dogs but that maybe he would
like the states to take them over, too— anything to avoid making a deci-
sion. He is rather firm on those issues which are still handled by the
Deity and he has a sense of relief that this is so.
Stevenson, on the other hand, has touched no political, economic,
or moral subject on which he has not taken a clear and open stand even
to the point of bearding selfish groups to their faces.
I do not know, but I can imagine the pressures on candidates for
the Presidency. They must be dreadful, but they must be equally
dreadful for both candidates. With equal pressures we have seen in a
pitiful few months the Eisenhower mind crumble into uncertainty,
retire into generalities, fumble with friendships and juggle alliances. At
the same time Stevenson has moved serenely on, clarifying his position,
holding to his line and never being drawn nor driven from his non-
And if the pressures on a candidate are powerful, how much more
so must they be on a President? I find I am for the man I think can take
the pressures best and can handle them without split loyalties, expe-
dient friendships or dead animals— cats or albatrosses. In a word I think
Stevenson is more durable, socially, politically and morally. Neither
candidate has or is likely to do anything to or for me personally. And I
can't hurt or help either of them. As a writer I love the clear, clean
writing of Stevenson. As a man I like his intelligent, humorous, logical,
civilized mind. And I strongly suspect what we can't possibly know
until November. Americans are real mean when they go behind that
voting-booth curtain. But I suspect there are millions just like me who
have switched to Stevenson as the greater man and as potentially the
A Brief Biography
of Adlai Stevenson
DEBS MYERS and RALPH MARTIN
In their lifetime, people had never seen a man just
Here's a man who says in Virginia what he says
Here's a man who threw away the fat, empty
words of the politicians and drew out of himself
words that moved men in the way of Jefferson and
Lincoln and Wilson and Roosevelt.
Four years ago Adlai E. Stevenson was a political
unknown seeking his first elective office. A year ago
he was only slightly known outside Illinois, where
he had made a reputation as a crusading Governor.
Today he commands an almost unique place in
American history— he is one of the few men ever
drafted to run for the Presidency.
Many persons consider Stevenson, next to Win-
ston Churchill, the finest political orator of our time.
He has a confident platform manner, a gift for
striking language and he delivers the speeches
which he writes himself in a warm, resonant voice
with an accent which blends his prairie heritage
with his Eastern schooling.
In appearance, Stevenson is of medium height,
with a perceptive face and a quick, easy smile. He
is becoming bald and his nose is slightly twisted,
the result of a boyhood fight long ago.
In his personal habits, Stevenson eats sparingly
and smokes cigarettes moderately. He plays golf
and tennis and rides horseback when he can. He
likes to dress informally; a favorite item in his
wardrobe is an old pair of golf shoes with the
While he was born a Democrat, he includes in
his family tree numerous outstanding Republicans.
"If it's true that politics is the art of compromise,"
he says, "I've had a good start. My mother was a
Republican and a Unitarian, my father was a Dem-
ocrat and a Presbyterian. I wound up in his party
and her church."
On the surface, it was the same old convention
scene; the blaring band, the milling delegates roar-
ing a mighty welcome, the candidate on the ros-
trum, waving and making the V-sign. Then, as Adlai
Stevenson began to speak, the great hall became
hushed; under the white glare of the television
lights, the prairie Governor from the Lincoln coun-
try introduced a new mood in American politics.
There was sadness in the speech and humor and
It was an intimate, quiet kind of oratory, free of
spellbinding and bombast; on this hot July night,
in the sprawling Chicago amphitheatre, he re-
flected the confidence of a man who has reached a
great decision. The inner turmoil was over; now
he was ready to go before the people.
People called him a "prairie Franklin Roosevelt,"
and a "Woodrow Wilson with warmth." Every-
where people wanted to know why it had taken the
country so long to discover Adlai E. Stevenson.
Suddenly people wanted to know a lot of things
about Stevenson. Did he actually write his own
speeches? What kind of Governor had he been?
What was he like as a man?
First, the country learned that Stevenson wasn't
easy to explain. He was as contradictory as the
prairie country from which he had come. He was
essentially a lonely man, a man of moods, yet he
liked conviviality and communicated a contagious
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF ADLAI STEVENSON
warmth. He was frugal, yet generous; thoughtful
of his friends and kindly, yet able to crack down
hard if a friend betrayed his loyalty and trust; a
scholar with a deep feeling for words, yet an out-
doorsman with an intuitive understanding of the
long view of nature.
An illustration of this latter quality was furnished
by an Oregon state legislator named Richard Neu-
berger, writing in Frontier Magazine:
The time to size up a famous man is before he be-
comes famous. I remember a time in 1947, before Adlai
Stevenson ever was suggested for political office, when
he and I and a group of other people spent a mem-
orable time in the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific
Northwest. . . . We were looking down a steep white
apron of snow on the ramparts of Mount St. Helens.
At the bottom of this chute, ugly boulders waited with
sabre-toothed fangs. The forest ranger and I hesitated
so that we could get our bearings. Was there some
safer way around the shoulder of the 10,000-foot moun-
Adlai Stevenson plodded out onto the slippery gables
of St. Helens and began kicking out footsteps for his
"Come on," he scoffed, "do you want to live forever?"
It is true that Stevenson is a man with a challeng-
ing mind. That's one reason he insists on writing his
own speeches— it's a personal challenge he insists
on meeting. Somehow, he seems constitutionally
unable to stand on a rostrum and deliver effectively
the words someone prepares for him. On occasions
when he was terribly pressed for time, he has tried
this. It just doesn't come off, because it's just not
part of the Stevenson makeup. With him a speech
isn't just words— it means something. And Steven-
son doesn't want anyone, even his best friends, put-
ting words in his mouth. "When it comes to ex-
pressing an idea," he once said, "I have only two
bosses— my conscience and my wrist watch."
Stevenson has a penchant for inserting humor in
his speeches; like Lincoln, he has an irresistible urge
to laugh and to make others laugh. For instance,
there was the time when Stevenson told a luncheon
group in New York City about the soldier who took
his girl to a judge on Saturday afternoon to get
married, only to find the courthouse closed, so they
couldn't get a marriage license. The judge was
sorry. The couple conferred, came up with this sug-
gestion: "Judge, aren't there a few words you could
say to tide us over the week-end?"
There are things that shape a man's life long be-
fore he's even born. The individuality of a man's
spirit is the part product of his time and place and
people. And what is the heritage of Adlai Steven-
Well, supposing you had as a great-grandfather,
Jesse Fell— an Illinois pioneer who founded towns
and newspapers, and who was the first man to
suggest the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates—
wouldn't that always be part of your pride?
And supposing you were named after a man who
was Vice President of the United States under
Grover Cleveland— wouldn't that somehow affect
the things you wanted to do with your life?
Then supposing your father spent a big part of
his lifetime wrapped up in the idea that a public
office is a public trust— wouldn't you catch some
of that spirit too?
Adlai Ewing Stevenson was born February 5,
1900, in Los Angeles. A family home in Blooming-
ton, Illinois; a childhood divided between the
South and Michigan; Bloomington public schools,
some studies in Choate School in Connecticut; and
then war. In 1918 he enlisted in the United States
Naval Reserve as an apprentice seaman.
Afterwards came a period of uncertainty for a
young man in a hurry but unsure of direction. Man-
aging editor of the paper at Princeton College, a
year at Harvard Law School, a newswriting job on
the Bloomington Pantagraph, long in the Stevenson
familv and in which he still owns an interest, a law
degree from Northwestern University in 1926.
But this restless young man wanted more move-
ment than just walking up to a jury box. So he be-
came foreign correspondent for a news service,
traveled all over Europe, even went to Russia. He
got a good look at the Soviet way of life, and he
still remembers homeless children fighting to lick
the cobblestones where a jar of jam had been
The newspaperman became a lawyer again, the
young man planted roots, and in 1927 Adlai Steven-
son was part of the law firm of Cutting, Moore and
Sidley in Chicago.
A year later he had more roots— he had a wife,
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF ADLAI STEVENSON
the lovely Ellen Borden. They had three sons:
Adlai III, now 22, 1952 graduate of the Officers
Candidate School at the U.S. Marine Base in Quan-
tico, Virginia; Borden, 20, a Harvard student; and
John Fell, 16, a student at Milford, Mass.
The Stevensons were divorced in 1949. Steven-
son blamed the divorce on "the incompatability of
our lives." And later, added, "That doesn't mean
that I approve of divorce. Indeed I think that one of
the healthiest things that could happen to America
would be a sharp decline in the appalling divorce
The young lawyer with the packed brief case
caught a train to Washington in 1933 and got his
first full taste of his heritage— the spirit of service.
He worked hard as special counsel to the Depart-
ment of Agriculture, traveled among farmers,
ranchers, dairymen, learned their problems and
needs, helped establish their marketing agree-
Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox needed a
trouble-shooting special assistant, and Stevenson
found himself with all kinds of new responsibilities,
including mediating labor-management disputes
connected with work for the Navy.
Later Stevenson headed a special economic mis-
sion to Italy and worked out a comprehensive basic
formula for post-war planning for all the defeated
countries. That Stevenson formula helped save
Italy from communism.
Stevenson helped plan the groundwork for the
UN in London, followed through in San Francisco,
found himself working with the permanent U.S. del-
egation to the General Assembly. It was then that
the late Senator Arthur Vandenberg, Republican
of Michigan, wrote Stevenson: "I am glad you are
going to the General Assembly. I want you to know
—as a matter of record— that when I was asked for
recommendations in connection with the United
States delegation, I put your name down as a
must.' I wish you were devoting all your time to
Stevenson the public servant had grown into
Stevenson the statesman.
As to why it took the country so long to discover
Stevenson— well, that's a mystery that's hard to
explain. The people closest to him say it was evi-
dent all along that here was a man gaited for great-
They cite his inaugural speech as Governor,
when he scorned the customary tired generalities
to emphasize that Illinois was part of the world; a
fearless speech at Brooklyn, Illinois, in 1948 when
he emphasized that he must push ahead with civil
liberties or "be unworthy of my heritage."
Friends also recall Stevenson's speech before the
Northwestern graduating class in 1950 when he
said: "Before you could add and subtract, the
bountiful earth was paralyzed with unemployment
and poverty stalked through fields of plenty. And
by the time many of you were ready for college,
they handed you a gun and told you to fight for
your life . . . Those decades between the wars were
not an entrance to the new, but an exit from the
old. You are going to work and play, I hope, in a
new-dimensional world. Great restless forces are at
work . . . the corners of the earth feel the fer-
Why does a man go into politics anyway? What's
the private push? Power? Prestige?
Here's the story Stevenson tells:
It was something in The Stars and Stripes in
Italy, a story he saw while he was there heading a
special mission. "It was a public-opinion poll in
which seven out of ten American parents said they
didn't want their boys to enter public life," said
Stevenson. "Think of it! Boys could suffer and die
in their cold, muddy, bloody campaign for the
things we believe in, but parents didn't want their
children to work for those same things. I decided
then that, if I ever had a chance, I'd go into public
It started in Illinois with the pressure of friends.
Friends with all the drive of amateur politicians
who see only the stars and none of the mud of
politics. But some of their zeal rammed through to
the professional politicians who finally decided that
maybe Adlai Stevenson did have the potential of
a political "gold nugget." The question was eeny-
meeny-miny-mo whether Stevenson or Paul
Douglas would run for the Senate or Governor-
ship. When they finally decided on Stevenson
for Governor, it caused a lot of knowing political
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF ADLAI STEVENSON
First, it was Dewey's year, wasn't it?
Second, who ever heard of Adlai E. Stevenson?
Third, the Republicans had raised a half-million
dollars in campaign money; the Stevenson crowd
operated on a thin shoestring out of an almost
And Stevenson didn't want any dirty money; he
didn't want money with strings attached. As much
as he could, he checked the sources of every single
donation. He told his professional political sup-
porters: "I'm not a politician. I'll do a lot of things
the organization wouldn't stand for. I won't make
political appointments. I'll get you into a lot of
They said O.K., go ahead. And he went. He went
in a borrowed car, crisscrossed into every corner of
the state, sledgehammered his speeches again and
again at the state's complete corruption and again
and again he told his audience, "I am not a politi-
cian. I am a citizen."
In 1948 the people of Illinois elected him by
572,000 votes, the greatest plurality in the history
As Governor, Stevenson picked people for jobs
regardless of political party. He picked men of
proved ability in specialized fields, most of them
outside of politics, but some of them well-known
Republicans. He brought high-grade, skilled men
into state government jobs that paid them only
small fractions of what they made on the outside.
Stevenson housecleaned, overhauled, reorgan-
ized. He put patronage-appointed state police
under civil service and they made 730 gambling
raids— they had never made a single raid before!
He fired 1,300 state employees from fat, useless
jobs, and it didn't matter to what political party
they belonged! The big thing was this: public
pressure was no longer for sale in Illinois. This is
an honest man who sweeps with a big broom.
Some 32 business firms paid for a big news-
paper ad that said, "THANK YOU, GOVERNOR
STEVENSON." They were thanking him for
quickly and completely cleaning up a multimillion-
dollar cigarette-tax counterfeiting racket.
Business men thanked Stevenson for taking pol-
itics out of public-utility regulation, for making the
Illinois Commerce Commission truly independent.
They thanked him for bringing in nationally promi-
nent business executives to handle state finances
and purchasing. They thanked him for cutting out
the political squeeze and shakedown in public con-
This is a man of business who means business.
Stevenson's the kind of man who turns off the
lights in the executive mansion when he leaves a
room. And he refused to replace a twelve-year-old
state limousine because it had gone only 300,000
Stevenson vetoed 57 bills one year because the
Republican-controlled legislature appropriated $42
million the budget didn't have. (And yet he still
managed to include in his budgets some $330 mil-
lion more for schools, public aid, welfare. ) That's
why Illinois was one of the seven states in the
country that didn't need any new general-purpose
taxes. That's why the Illinois state-tax burden is the
second lowest in the country.
This is a hard man with the dollar.
He kept his promises of friendship to labor.
How do you prove friendship, anyway? Not by
slapping a worker on the back and kissing his
baby. Stevenson proved it by urging a 30 per cent
increase for workmen's compensation benefits.
Stevenson proved it by making compensation set-
tlements in three months instead of three years. He
did it by twice increasing unemployment benefits.
He did it by enforcing an industrial-safety pro-
gram that made 1951 the best safety year in
Stevenson proved his friendship by putting teeth
into the enforcement of the neglected child-labor
law and the women's eight-hour law.
This is a man who proves his friendship by
deeds— not guff.
And he worked hard for the farmer.
Illinois is now first among all states in the num-
ber of cattle under supervision against disease.
State inspection of seed samples has jumped 25
per cent. Grain inspection has been put on a self-
supporting basis for the first time in forty years.
Stevenson got his basic farm training among the
hard facts of A.A.A., and so when he streamlined the
disorganized state Agriculture Department he put
a strong stress on soil conservation. And he made
research move out of the office onto the farms to
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF ADLAI STEVENSON
show just how farmers can put science into agri-
Stevenson knew that the farmer's lifeline was
farm-to-market roads and he made sure it stayed
healthy. For the first time, a big slice of the gaso-
line-tax money (some $10 million a year) will go
for rural roads.
This man is a farmer who knows the farmers'
There wasn't a thing on this farm when Governor
Stevenson bought it in 1937. He put in two tons of
limestone and 1,500 pounds of rock phosphate per
acre and seeded it down with alfalfa, brome grass and
ladino clover. Today the pasture is knee-high. Mr.
Stevenson is no mere gentleman farmer. He can shear
a sheep or assist at lambing. He can chop wood, build
a fence, put up hay or drive a tractor and does fre-
frank Holland, operator of Mr. Stevenson's 80-acre
farm. Aug. 31, 1952
His feeling for civil liberties is one of the big
principles of his life.
Nobody tried harder than he did to persuade
Illinois to give all its citizens equality of oppor-
tunity. Stevenson wiped out questions of race, re-
ligion and nationality from state job applications.
Nobody argued more strongly for a state FEPC.
The Republican State Senate voted a solid bloc
(24 out of 25) to defeat his bill.
And nobody showed more political courage than
Stevenson did when he vetoed the Broyles Bill
which he felt would hurt more honest people than
traitors. Stevenson said:
We all agree that the Republic must be preserved at
all costs, or there will be no freedom to preserve or
even regain. We must fight traitors with laws. We
already have the laws. We must fight falsehood and
evil ideas with truth and better ideas. We have them
in plenty. . . . We must not burn down the house to
kill the rats. . . .
This is a fighter for the democratic spirit of man.
And what did he do for the old, the sick and the
needy? What did he do for the schools?
He cut fat from overloaded parts of the budget
and then added $128 million more for the blind,
the aged, the dependent children.
He doubled state aid to schools, pulling the
school system up among the nation's best. Under
the Republicans, Illinois had ranked 44th out of
48 states in school support.
He changed the state's mental-health setup from
an open sore to a national model. A bipartisan
legislative committee reporting on the situation
under the Republicans, said: "Illinois is near the
head of the list for the number of patients who
died in mental hospitals under suspicious circum-
stances." Four years later, the famous Dr. Karl
Menninger described the cleaned-up system as
"one of the country's best."
You expect this kind of action from this kind
O * * * 4
In their lifetime, people had never seen a man
just like him.
Here's a man who says in Virginia what he says
Here's a man who threw away the fat, empty
words of the politicians and drew out of himself
words that moved men in the way of Jefferson
and Lincoln and Wilson and Roosevelt.
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION,
July 21, 1952
As Governor of the host state to the 1952 Democratic Convention, I
have the honor of welcoming you to Illinois. And, in the name of our
nine millions of people, I extend to you the heartiest of greetings. Chi-
cago and Illinois are proud that once again the party conventions by
which we restate our principles and choose our candidates for the
greatest temporal office on earth are to be held here at the crossroads
of the continent.
Here on the prairies of Illinois and the Middle West we can see a
long way in all directions. We look to east, to west, to north and to south.
Our commerce, our ideas, come and go in all directions. Here there are
no barriers, no defenses, to ideas and aspirations. We want none; we
want no shackles on the mind or the spirit, no rigid patterns of thought,
no iron conformity. We want only the faith and conviction that triumph
in free and fair contest.
As a Democrat perhaps you will permit me to remind you that
until four years ago the people of Illinois had chosen but three Demo-
cratic governors in a hundred years. One was John Peter Altgeld, the
Eagle Forgotten, an immigrant; one was Edward F. Dunne, whose par-
ents came from Ireland; and the last was Henry Horner, but one gen-
eration removed from Germany. John Peter Altgeld was a Protestant,
Governor Dunne was a Catholic and Henry Horner was a Jew.
That, my friends, is the American story, written here on the prairies
of Illinois, in the heartland of the nation.
You are very welcome here. Indeed, we think you were very wise
to come here for your deliberations in this fateful year of grace. For
it was in Chicago that the modern Democratic story began. It was here
just twenty years ago in the depths of shattering national misery at the
end of a dizzy decade of Republican rule that you commenced the
greatest era of economic and social progress in our history with
the nomination of Franklin Roosevelt; twenty years during which we
fought total depression to victory and have never been more pros-
perous; twenty years during which we fought total war to victory, both
16 WELCOMING ADDRESS
east and west, and launched the United Nations; twenty years that
close in grim contest with the Communist conspiracy on every con-
But our Republican friends say it was all a miserable failure. For
almost a week pompous phrases marched over this landscape in search
of an idea, and the only idea they found was that the two great decades
of progress in peace, victory in war, and bold leadership in this anxious
hour were the misbegotten spawn of bungling, corruption, socialism,
mismanagement, waste and worse. They captured, tied and dragged
that idea in here and furiously beat it to death.
After listening to our misdeeds awhile I was surprised the next
morning when the mail was delivered on time! Our friends were out of
patience, out of sorts and, need I add, out of office.
But we Democrats were not the only victims here. First they
slaughtered each other, and then they went after us. And the same
vocabulary was good for both exercises, which was a great convenience.
Perhaps the proximity of the stockyards accounts for the carnage.
The constructive spirit of the great Democratic decades must not
die here on its twentieth anniversary in destructive indignity and dis-
order. And I hope and pray, as you all do, that we can conduct our
deliberations with a businesslike precision and a dignity befitting our
responsibility, and the solemnity of the hour of history in which we
For it is a very solemn hour indeed, freighted with the hopes and
fears of millions of mankind who see in us, the Democratic party, sober
understanding of the breadth and depth of the revolutionary currents
in the world. Here and abroad they see in us awareness that there is no
turning back, that, as Justice Holmes said, "We must sail sometimes
with the wind, sometimes against it; but we must sail and not drift or
lie at anchor." They see in us, the Democratic party, that has steered
this country through a storm of spears for twenty years, an under-
standing of a world in the torment of transition from an age that has
died to an age struggling to be born. They saw in us relentless deter-
mination to stand fast against the barbarian at the gate, to cultivate
allies with a decent respect for the opinion of others, patiently to
explore every misty path to peace and security which is the only cer-
tainty of lower taxes and a better life.
This is not the time for superficial solutions and everlasting elocu-
tion, for frantic boast and foolish word. For words are not deeds and
there are no cheap and painless solutions to war, hunger, ignorance,
fear and imperialist Communism. Intemperate criticism is not a policy
for the nation; denunciation is not a program for our salvation. Words
calculated to catch everyone may catch no one. And I hope we can
profit from Republican mistakes for the benefit of all of us, Republicans
and Democrats alike.
Where we have erred, let there be no denial; where we have
wronged the public trust, let there be no excuses. Self-criticism is the
secret weapon of democracy, and candor and confession are good for
the political soul. But we will never appease; we will never apologize
for our leadership in the great events of this critical century from
Woodrow Wilson to Harry Truman!
We glory in these imperishable pages of our country's chronicle.
But a great record of past achievement is not enough. There can be no
complacency perhaps for years to come. We dare not just look back to
great yesterdays. We must look forward to great tomorrows.
What counts now is not just what we are against, but what we are
for. Who leads us is less important than what leads us— what convic-
tions, what courage, what faith— win or lose. A man doesn't save a cen-
tury, or a civilization, but a militant party wedded to a principle can.
So I hope our preoccupation here is not just with personalities but
with objectives. And I hope the spirit of this Convention is a confident
reaffirmation that the United States is strong, resolved, resourceful and
rich; that we know the duty and the destiny of this heaven-rescued
land; that we can and we will pursue a strong, consistent, honorable
policy abroad, and meanwhile preserve the free institutions of life and
of commerce at home.
What America needs and the world wants is not bombast, abuse
and double talk, but a sober message of firm faith and confidence. St.
Francis said: "Where there is patience and humility there is neither
anger nor worry."
And let us remember that we are not meeting here alone. All the
world is watching and listening to what we say, what we do and how
we behave. So let us give them a demonstration of democracy in action
at its best— our manners good, our proceedings orderly and dignified.
And, above all, let us make our decisions openly, fairly, not by the
processes of synthetic excitement or mass hysteria, but, as these solemn
times demand, by earnest thought and prayerful deliberation.
Thus can the people's party reassure the people and vindicate and
strengthen the forces of democracy throughout the world.
Speech of Acceptance
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION,
July 26, 1952
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen of the convention, my fellow
I accept your nomination— and your program.
I should have preferred to hear those words uttered by a stronger,
a wiser, a better man than myself. But after listening to the President's
speech, I even feel better about myself.
None of you, my friends, can wholly appreciate what is in my heart.
I can only hope that you understand my words. They will be few.
I have not sought the honor you have done me. I could not seek it
because I aspired to another office, which was the full measure of my
ambition. And one does not treat the highest office within the gift of the
people of Illinois as an alternative or as a consolation prize.
I would not seek your nomination for the Presidency because the
burdens of that office stagger the imagination. Its potential for good or
evil now and in the years of our lives smothers exultation and converts
vanity to prayer.
I have asked the merciful Father, the Father to us all, to let this cup
pass from me. But from such dread responsibility one does not shrink in
fear, in self-interest or in false humility.
So, "If this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, Thy will be
That my heart has been troubled, that I have not sought this nomi-
nation, that I could not seek it in good conscience, that I would not seek
it in honest self-appraisal, it is not to say that I value it the less. Rather
it is that I revere the office of the Presidency of the United States.
And now that you have made your decision I will fight to win that
office with all my heart and my soul. And with your help, I have no
doubt that we will win.
You have summoned me to the highest mission within the gift of
any people. I could not be more proud. Better men than I were at hand
for this mighty task, and I owe to you and to them every resource of
mind and of strength that I possess to make your deed today a good one
for our country and for our party. I am confident, too, that your selec-
tion of a candidate for Vice President will strengthen me and our party
immeasurably in the hard, the implacable work that lies ahead of all
I know you join me in gratitude and in respect for the great Demo-
crats and the leaders of our generation whose names you have con-
sidered here in this convention, whose vigor, whose character and
devotion to the Republic we love so well have won the respect of count-
less Americans and enriched our party.
I shall need them, we shall need them, because I have not changed
in any respect since yesterday. Your nomination, awesome as I find it,
has not enlarged my capacities. So I am profoundly grateful and em-
boldened by their comradeship and their fealty. And I have been deeply
moved by their expressions of goodwill and of support. And I cannot,
my friends, resist the urge to take the one opportunity that has been
afforded me to pay my humble respects to a very great and good Ameri-
can whom I am proud to call my kinsman— Alben Barkley of Kentucky.
Let me say, too, that I have been heartened by the conduct of this
convention. You have argued and disagreed because as Democrats you
care and you care deeply. But you have disagreed and argued without
calling each other liars and thieves, without despoiling our best tradi-
tions. You have not spoiled our best traditions in any naked struggles
And you have written a platform that neither equivocates, contra-
dicts nor evades.
You have restated our party's record, its principles and its purposes
in language that none can mistake, and with a firm confidence in justice,
freedom and peace on earth that will raise the hearts and the hopes of
mankind for that distant day when no one rattles a saber and no one
drags a chain.
For all these things I am grateful to you. But I feel no exultation, no
sense of triumph. Our troubles are all ahead of us.
Some will call us appeasers; others will say that we are the war
Some will say we are reactionary.
Others will say that we stand for socialism.
There will be the inevitable cries of "throw the rascals out"; "it's
time for a change"; and so on and so on.
We'll hear all those things and many more besides. But we will hear
nothing that we have not heard before. I am not too much concerned
with partisan denunciation, with epithets and abuse, because the work-
ing man, the farmer, the thoughtful business man, all know that they are
better off than ever before and they all know that the greatest danger to
free enterprise in this country died with the great depression under the
hammer blows of the Democratic party.
Nor am I afraid that the precious two-party system is in danger.
Certainly the Republican party looked brutally alive a couple of weeks
ago, and I mean both Republican parties! Nor am I afraid that the
Democratic party is old and fat and indolent.
After 150 years it has been old for a long time; and it will never be
indolent as long as it looks forward and not back, as long as it commands
the allegiance of the young and the hopeful who dream the dreams and
see the visions of a better America and a better world.
You will hear many sincere and thoughtful people express concern
about the continuation of one party in power for twenty years. I don't
belittle this attitude. But change for the sake of change has no absolute
merit in itself.
If our greatest hazard is preservation of the values of Western civi-
lization, in our self-interest alone, if you please, is it the part of wisdom
to change for the sake of change to a party with a split personality; to a
leader whom we all respect, but who has been called upon to minister
to a hopeless case of political schizophrenia?
If the fear is corruption in official position, do you believe with
Charles Evans Hughes that guilt is personal and knows no party? Do
you doubt the power of any political leader, if he has the will to do so, to
set his own house in order without his neighbors having to burn it
What does concern me, in common with thinking partisans of both
parties, is not just winning this election, but how it is won, how well we
can take advantage of this great quadrennial opportunity to debate
issues sensibly and soberly.
I hope and pray that we Democrats, win or lose, can campaign not
as a crusade to exterminate the opposing party, as our opponents seem
to prefer, but as a great opportunity to educate and elevate a people
whose destiny is leadership, not alone of a rich and prosperous, con-
tented country as in the past, but of a world in ferment.
And, my friends, even more important than winning the election is
governing the nation. That is the test of a political party— the acid, final
test. When the tumult and the shouting die, when the bands are gone
and the lights are dimmed, there is the stark reality of responsibility in
an hour of history haunted with those gaunt, grim spectres of strife,
dissension and ruthless, inscrutable and hostile power abroad.
The ordeal of the Twentieth Century— the bloodiest, most turbulent
era of the Christian age— is far from over. Sacrifice, patience, under-
standing and implacable purpose may be our lot for years to come.
Let's face it. Let's talk sense to the American people. Let's tell them
the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the
eve of great decisions, not easy decisions, like resistance when you're
attacked, but a long, patient, costly struggle which alone can assure
triumph over the great enemies of man— war, poverty and tyranny— and
the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous conse-
quences of each.
Let's tell them that the victory to be won in the Twentieth Century,
this portal to the golden age, mocks the pretensions of individual acu-
men and ingenuity. For it is a citadel guarded by thick walls of igno-
rance and mistrust which do not fall before the trumpets' blast or the
politicians' imprecations or even a general's baton. They are, my friends,
walls that must be directly stormed by the hosts of courage, morality
and of vision, standing shoulder to shoulder, unafraid of ugly truth,
contemptuous of lies, half-truths, circuses and demagoguery.
The people are wise— wiser than the Republicans think. And the
Democratic party is the people's party, not the labor party, not the
farmers' party, not the employers' party— it is the party of no one be-
cause it is the party of everyone.
That, I think, is our ancient mission. Where we have deserted it we
have failed. With your help there will be no desertion now. Better we
lose the election than mislead the people; and better we lose than mis-
govern the people.
Help me do the job in this autumn of conflict and of campaign; help
me to do the job in these years of darkness, of doubt and of crisis which
stretch beyond the horizon of tonight's happy vision, and we will justify
our glorious past and the loyalty of silent millions who look to us for
compassion, for understanding and for honest purpose. Thus we will
serve our great tradition greatly.
I ask of you all you have; I will give to you all I have, even as he
who came here tonight and honored me, as he has honored you— the
Democratic party— by a lifetime of service and bravery that will find
him an imperishable page in the history of the Republic and of the
Democratic party— President Harry S. Truman.
And finally, my friends, in the staggering task that you have as-
signed me, I shall always try "to do justly, to love mercy, and walk
humbly with my God."
The Need for a Change
The Colorado Volunteers-for-Stevenson Dinner
September 5, 1952
Mr. Brooks, Ladies and Gentlemen:
When this visit to Denver was arranged for me I had thought to find
here a bustling and hostile campaign headquarters. But evidently all is
quiet in Denver. The tents have been folded and the captains and the
kings have departed.
I am informed, if not very reliably, that with both discordant ele-
ments of the Republican party here in Denver suddenly someone real-
ized that Denver is very close to the Great Divide. And I guess they
thought it was time for a change before this unhappy symbolism became
Whatever the reason, I am afraid my neighbors in Springfield, Illi-
nois, are not going to get the same relief you in Denver have had. My
headquarters will continue to be there on November 4. I am delighted
to hear that Springfield is so popular in Denver.
Now there is deep personal satisfaction for me in the fact that this,
my first talk on my first extended campaign trip, is sponsored by the
independents who are organizing around the country on my behalf.
I'm reminded of the lonely days of my first venture into political life
in 1948. Few really believed then that I, a Democrat, could be elected
Governor of an overwhelmingly Republican state. But there were a lot
of independent-minded people in Illinois who believed in me enough to
work hard for my election.
In Illinois the independents— and I include in that term all those
who wear a party label over their hearts but not over their eyes— now
those people in Illinois shared with me, I think, certain ideals and objec-
tives for government at all levels. We believed in these things:
Government— any government— is not an end in itself. It exists to
serve certain human purposes. These purposes should be enlarged only
with caution. Indeed, the effort should be always to leave as wide a range
of activity as possible in private hands and to keep public intervention as
far down the scale and as close to the people governed as possible.
What ought to be done by government for the public welfare should
be done. There should be no wistful dragging of the feet or turning back-
ward to a dead, irrelevant past.
Government should be competent. Its personnel must not be under
the heavy hand of purely political selection or influence. It must not be
afraid of raising and spending money for worthy purposes, but it must
detest and fear waste and dishonesty as ever-present threats to the whole
moral basis of government by the consent of the governed because peo-
ple don't consent voluntarily to be cheated or abused.
We believe above all else that those who hold in their hands the
power of government must themselves be independent— and this kind
of independence means the wisdom, the experience, the courage to iden-
tify the special interests and the pressures that are always at work, to see
the public interest steadily, to resist its subordination no matter what the
Now this simple principle is not peculiar to Illinois, nor is it foreign
to the majority of those who participate in political activity. It's my com-
mon ground with those who are devoting their time and their effort and
their money to the Volunteers for Stevenson, under whose auspices I
speak here in Denver tonight.
This election year can set the stage for great ideas and great events.
This is a year which opens out on challenges, on opportunities and deci-
sions as big as history itself. There are awesome things for any citizen to
ponder. They are more awesome for a presidential candidate.
Feeling this, I must assume that my opponent, whom I honor for
the proud page he has written in American history, feels it too. And I can
imagine nothing more false or hollow than to conceal these things from
the American people in order to put on a show of politics as usual. If we
do this, we will succeed only in making a show of ourselves. In a contest
for the greatest office and at a time for greatness I think we owe it to the
people to talk sense.
I don't think many people are beguiled by denunciations and gen-
eralizations ( and I don't mean a pun ) . I may be wrong, my friends, but
I must persist in that conviction— at least until November.
So I propose to go on saying just what I think about our public
questions one by one, with little hope of pleasing everyone, but with
confident certainty that honesty is the best policy and that for this office,
in this anxious year, you don't want a political free-for-all, and you do
want to know all you can about me and about my views. Frankly, until
recently not many people cared about either. It's a little hard to get
accustomed to this importance.
Now, having stated the ground rules as far as I'm concerned, I
should like to talk a little about one of the biggest hazards of this cam-
paign, as far as I'm concerned. As divided, as silent as both wings of the
Republican party are on major objectives, on policies to guide the nation,
24 THE NEED FOR A CHANGE
they have wholeheartedly united on one profound proposition: "It's time
for a change."
You will hear this phrase many times— usually at the end of a long
string of invectives in which each of the following words will appear at
least once: crime, corruption and cronies; bossism, blundering and bun-
gling; stupidity and socialism ( either the creeping or galloping variety,
depending on the inflammation of the speaker). Indeed, my friends,
apparently you are going to hear little else. The question must come to
your mind: "change to what?" But don't pause for an answer because
you may pause indefinitely.
Now, my friends, I've read the Republican platform, which is pretty
good as a "whodunit," but it doesn't tell us what kind of a domestic or
foreign policy they are going to change to. I've listened to the speeches,
too, and I don't yet know what legislation of the past twenty years is to
be changed or changed to what. Nor have I heard yet to what new for-
eign policy we should be committed, unless it's the reckless suggestion
of a war of liberation in Europe, which has frightened everyone except
No, the guideposts and the road maps to the new Utopia which
change will build are not yet visible. But meanwhile the Republican
candidates seem to have clasped all of the social gains of the past twenty
years to their bosoms with a "me-too" fervor that is touching to a Demo-
crat, for imitation still remains the sincerest form of flattery.
I confess it's all a little perplexing. The Democrats are denounced
for not wanting changes and then they are denounced for a subversive
desire to change everything. I'm beginning to wonder if the Republican
campaign rests on the proposition that Democrats are social revolution-
aries who want to keep things exactly as they are.
But, and more seriously, "change" is about the most important word
in the world today. In fact, I would be perfectly willing to have the
outcome of this election decided on these questions:
Which party best understands the meaning of change in the modern
Which party has ignored it?
Which has anticipated the need for a change and done something
Which party has resisted about every important change for the past
And looking ahead now, which party is most likely to cope effec-
tively with the vast changes already in the making?
You'll forgive me if I'm a little cynical when I hear shouting the
loudest for change the politicians who have consistently opposed change
at every turn as far back as most of us can remember.
Timing, timing with respect to change is as important as change
itself. It's when the problem is a live one that change becomes impor-
tant. In fact, if my party had not met the challenge of change at the
right time, there would be no program in America for the Republican
leaders to endorse.
I have a hunch that the American people would like to see them get
out in front of something besides criticism for a change. And I have a
hunch that there are a lot of us who would be more impressed by specific
ideas about the making of a better world than by these hoarse denuncia-
tions and demands for a blank check made out to change.
I believe there are a lot of changes still to be made. I'm for continu-
ing the process of gradual and economic betterment which began at the
depths of despair in 1932. The changes wrought in these twenty years
have steadily raised the standards of life of our people, given new hope
to the underprivileged and proven to the slave world the capacity of
free men to provide security for themselves within the framework of
I'm glad that the General has apparently embraced these changes.
But I don't detect any roars of approval from the Old Guard— you know
what they are, they're the men who don't want anything done for the
first time. My fellow townsman, Colonel McCormick, has even deserted
—he's "gone over the hill" as the G.I.'s say. And Senator Taft, it's re-
ported, wants commitments and he wants them in writing.
Some commentators tell us that there are really two Republican
parties, which of course has been obvious to most of us for a long time—
the comparatively modern men and the powerful Old Guard who are
still fighting valiantly to keep us out of World War II.
Now they tell us that if the Republicans lose this year, as usual, the
Old Guard— they tell us that if that happens the Old Guard will come
raging in and drive the so-called me-tooers into shameful exile. And,
therefore, the thing for independents and Democrats to do is to let the
Republicans win, thereby assuring the triumph of moderation and ena-
bling us all to live happily ever after.
I believe that this is the first time in history that it has been con-
tended that now is the time for all good Democrats to come to the aid
of the Republican party.
Now, at the risk of seeming to lack compassion and humanity—
that's too high a price to save enlightened Republicans from their more
primitive brethren. They'll just have to take care of themselves while
we take care of the country.
But of course there is an easier, safer path of escape for these liberal
Republicans trapped behind the G. O. P. line. There's always a light in
our Democratic window for the politically homeless or the repentant.
There's a warm welcome and plenty of shelter for Republicans as well
as independents, and, as in the Foreign Legion, no questions asked.
Now, my friends, I shall not argue that it is necessarily fatal to
change horses in mid-stream. But I doubt if it is wise to jump on a
struggling two-headed elephant trying to swim in both directions in
Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes
he has to eat them. Alas, in this world he sometimes, or perhaps too
often, lives by catchwords. Slogans are normally designed to get action
without reflection. This one, "time for a change," fits these specifications
admirably. This may not be too serious when all that is at stake is whether
to buy one cake of soap or another, but I don't think it furnishes a sound
basis for deciding a national election.
If we believe in human progress, if we believe with the pioneers
that there is a peaceful better life to be found beyond the horizon, then
we all profoundly believe that it is always time for change— a change to
something better. "The important thing," as Justice Holmes once said,
"is not where we are, but where we are going."
This year the Democratic party nominated me for the Presidency,
a nomination I did not seek. That's the best evidence that the Democrats
wanted a change, too. And the Democrat who wanted it most of all was
Now, the bitterest enemies of President Truman could never accuse
him of being one to run away from a fight. But he knows that change,
new men, new blood, new ideas, new methods, is helpful. He has not
sought to interfere with the considerable changes in the Democratic
party organization that I've already made. And I could add that no one
has made or even proposed any deals with me for any office, or benefit,
or favor whatsoever.
Now I think the Republican leaders know this. Yet I hear them
attack corruption as if there wasn't a single honest Federal employee
and then go on to say that I am indebted to someone, that I would have
no freedom, and that I could do nothing if I found dishonesty.
On this subject I want to say, as I've said many times before, that
corruption in public office is treason and it's treason to Democrats as
well as to the Republicans. Any crooks that I can find in the Govern-
ment will be exposed and punished as ruthlessly as I've done it in Illi-
nois — to Republicans and Democrats alike.
And what's more, my friends, I think I know more about their
methods than my opponent because I followed eight years of magnifi-
cent Republican rascality in Illinois. I've used an axe on my own party
men without fear or favor or hesitation and, frankly, I resent the
charges that imply that either my honesty or my fidelity to the public
trust would be diminished by election to an office I revere.
I had not expected that from the General. And I will not repay him
in kind. But I would thank him to read more carefully what I don't
believe he would write himself. Moreover, you'll forgive me if I gag a
little when Republican politicians don the ill-fitting mantle of self -right-
eousness and deliver holier-than-thou sermons on morality.
THE NEED FOR A CHANGE 27
I've read enough of our history to remember the shameful periods
after previous wars, and who was in power then? The Republican
But that doesn't condone the recent revelations of faithlessness.
And I don't condone them and never will— either in public life or in
Finally, let me suggest to our Republican friends that it's time for
a change in that old tired meaningless tune "It's time for a change." It
has been used every four years and it hasn't started any dancing in the
What we really believe in, I think, independents, Republicans and
Democrats alike— Americans— is not the slogans of people who are out of
office and want to get in, what we believe in is the power and the right
of peaceful, continuous change for the better.
We believe in it because we, the American people, believe in our-
selves. We believe in our ideals and in the necessity for justifying our
exalted position in the world.
And finally, we believe that with prudence and patience, with a
sense of dedication, and with God's help, we can give enriched meaning
to human destiny.
I'm grateful to all of you who have rallied to my support in this vast
undertaking. I have learned that the greatest, perhaps the only enduring
satisfaction in public office is the confidence and the respect— not the
total agreement, because it can never exist— the confidence and the
respect of disinterested men and women who don't want anything for
On Political Morality
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
The Los Angeles Town Club
September 11, 1952
I was born in Los Angeles. I have often thought that if my parents
had to remove me at a very early age, the least they could have done
was to endow me with a few lots in the center of Los Angeles. It
might have been an easier way to earn a living.
Last time I was in this room was in May ten years ago in 1942
with my beloved and celebrated boss at that time, Colonel Frank Knox,
then Secretary of the Navy. He made a much better speech to you that
time than I will today. And I know, because I wrote both of them.
Now I am persuaded that congenitally, as well as a candidate, I
talk entirely too much.
I think of those imperishable words of Disraeli when a callow
new Member of the House of Commons approached him and said
earnestly, "Mr. Prime Minister, do you think I should participate very
actively in the debates?"
And Disraeli gave him an appraising glance and said to him,
"No, I don't think you had better. I think it would be better if the
House were to wonder why you didn't talk, rather than why you did."
Personally, I couldn't agree more.
But a candidate has to talk, I suppose, and I think he should talk
as plainly as possible about public questions, to admit what he doesn't
know and what he can't answer.
If he purported to know the right answer to everything, he would
be either a knave or a fool. If he even had an answer to everything
he would probably be just a fool.
If he had no emphatic views at all, he would probably be just as
untrustworthy; and if he was evasive, he would probably be either
cunning or a political coward, of which we have altogether too many;
and finally, if he should arrive at election time with almost everybody
satisfied, then you should by all means vote against him as the most
dangerous charlatan of them all.
In other words, you of Town Hall who try to vote intelligently
have quite a chore. From my brief experience in Illinois, I am per-
suaded that forthright discussion of the real public questions is neither
ON POLITICAL MORALITY 29
beneath the dignity of political candidates or above the intelligence of
the American people, and it most certainly is the condition precedent
to any intelligent choice except by the faculty of intuition, which is by
no means infallible in these days of ghosts and of press agents.
I wanted to talk to you about politics and I suppose I am quali-
fied by ignorance to talk about politics because I have been in politics
barely four years and there are some politicians who don't think I am
in it yet and others who expect me to be out of it very soon.
Andrew Oliver said in Boston more than 150 years ago, "Politics
is the most hazardous of all professions. There is not another in which
a man can hope to do so much good for his fellow creatures. Neither
is there any in which by mere loss of nerve he may do such wide-
"Nor is there another in which he may so easily lose his own soul.
Nor is there another in which a positive and strict veracity is so diffi-
cult, but danger is the inseparable companion of honor. With all the
temptations and degradations that beset the politician it is still the
noblest career any man can choose."
Now, I emphatically agree to the "hazards and dangers" part of
that quotation from Oliver, but how about the honor and the nobility?
That "politics and politicians" have become words of disrepute
and of abuse, epithets, if you please, instead of words of honor and
respect is nothing new, but it seems to me paradoxical and very sad
in a republic governed by the governed.
More recently than Oliver's comment of 150 years ago, Bernard
Shaw said that democracy is a device that insures that we shall be
governed no better than we deserve. Whose fault is it then that we
get what we deserve in government and that the honor and nobility
of politics at most levels are empty phrases?
Well, having asked you the question, I shall hastily answer it my-
self by saying that it is not the lower order of the genus pol, but it is
the fault of you the people.
Your public servants serve you right. Indeed, often they serve
you better than your apathy and your indifference deserve, but I
suggest that there is always time to repent and to amend your ways.
However, you won't amend your ways just by redoubling your re-
solve to help your favorite candidate for President, including even the
Governor of Illinois.
No, repentance of your sins is much more difficult than that, be-
cause there are the little masters of precinct committeemen, of state
committeemen, of states attorneys, of sheriffs, county officials, of al-
dermen, of councilmen, of mayors, of governors, congressmen and
judges, and all of the elaborate paraphernalia of our democratic sys-
tem of popular choice. The whole is the sum of the parts and the
whole will be no better than the parts.
30 ON POLITICAL MORALITY
So I say to you, look to the parts, not to just the major parts, but
all of the parts, in this elaborate mechanism. It will keep you busy a
lot of your time, but it will be worth it. You might even end by getting
infected yourself in running for something and that would be a very
good thing indeed.
It seems to me that government is like a pump, and what it
pumps up is just what we are, a fair sample of the intellect and morals
of the people, no better, no worse.
Well, you say that this sort of pious preaching about better citi-
zenship is grammar-school stuff and everybody has said the same
thing since Plato, and so they have. And also, we have been complain-
ing about government ever since Plato, at least, when the human race
has even dared to complain about its managers.
Here and there, now and then, we do something, as you have
done in California under your honored and esteemed Governor Earl
Warren. Indeed, I am optimistic that things are getting better on the
whole, especially since we have been slugged in that most sensitive
of all our parts, the pocketbook, as never before.
But there is a very long way to go. So I should like to lecture you
a bit about the self-education of voters who want to expiate their sins,
if any. I mean if there are any such voters, not sins.
In the London Times Literary Supplement, I recently saw this in
a review of two American books:
"The cleaning-up of American civic and political life is the prere-
quisite of any cleaning-up of crime and criminal. It is no use blaming
the police for winking at the bookies when the elected sheriffs and a
whole raft of elected officials and judges are paid from their takings.
It is no use blaming the law-enforcement officers if the masses of the
people do not respect their laws, which happens with gambling, slot
machines and liquor in dry states and so on and so on."
I agree with that little quote emphatically. You are not going to
clean up crime and corruption until you clean up civil life. Who is go-
ing to do that? You are going to do it or it isn't going to be done.
In Illinois I have moved against the slot machine and commercial
gambling by using the state police where local officials refused to do
their duty. The good people applauded, but they went right on play-
ing the slot machines in the country clubs, in their lodges and in their
But, my friends, if it is against the law in the corner saloons, it is
against the law in the country club, too, and how much respect and
how much leadership are the citizens going to have who practice a
double standard of law observance? They have stopped their own
mouths and tied up their own hands, but they still complain about
And what would you think about the banker who complains
ON POLITICAL MORALITY 31
when you clean up gambling in his town because it reduces bank
deposits, or the real-estate owner who complains because the tenants
don't pay as much rent when the restaurant and the tavern on the
ground floor have to stop gambling?
I have had those experiences and many more besides, including
the varieties of business men who will corrupt a state inspector to dis-
regard some law violation. I can fire the inspector if I can catch him.
But I can't fire the business man.
Corruption in government is the only issue in this campaign, ac-
cording to my very distinguished opponent. I think he means it is the
only issue that the various factions of the Republican party can agree
But, my friends, it should be an issue in every campaign for
every office from top to bottom in all of this elaborate political hier-
archy, not just this year, but every year, because right or wrong,
whether you believe in the pump analogy in our political life or not,
the responsibility for our moral standards rests heavily upon the men
and women in public life.
Public confidence in the integrity of the Government is indis-
pensable to faith in democracy; and when we lose faith in the system,
we have lost faith in everything we fight and spend for.
Then there is always that sinister man on horseback waiting in
the wings to come in. When we get so discontented, we look for the
ultimate solution; and the solution always has its lamentable and in-
evitable consequences which are so familiar or should be.
As a Democrat, as an office holder and aspirant for the greatest
office on earth, I have not nor will I condone, excuse or explain away
wrongdoing or moral obliquity in public office, whoever the guilty,
or wherever they are stationed. What's more, I have had the satisfac-
tion of firing and prosecuting a good many, and I mean from both
One dishonest public officer is one too many. A dishonest official
is as faithless to his party as to his office, and our political parties
must never flounder on the rocks of moral equivocation. There have
been cases of corruption, bribery, venality involving a minute fraction
of all the tens of thousands of people in Federal service.
Many of these cases have been discovered and exposed, I'm hap-
py to say, by Democrats, especially by Democratic Senators and Con-
gressmen keeping watch over the spending of public funds. I need
only mention such names as Senator Estes Kefauver; Senator Paul H.
Douglas; Senator J. William Fulbright; Stuart Symington; your own
Congressman, Cecil King; Congressman Frank Chelf of Kentucky,
and many others.
In fact, I induced an old friend, Stephen Mitchell, who has lately
been counsel to the Chelf committee conducting the investigation of
32 ON POLITICAL MORALITY
the Department of Justice, to let me nominate him for Chairman of
the Democratic National Committee.
And I am reminded of what Justice Charles Evans Hughes said
during the Harding era scandals. He said this: "Neither political party
has a monopoly of virtue or of rascality. Let wrong be exposed and
punished, but let no partisan Pecksniff affect a holier-than-thou atti-
tude. Guilt is personal and knows no party."
There is a great danger in this very healthy discussion of corrup-
tion in government which I hope gentlemen like you do not overlook:
The problem of government is a problem of recruiting first-rate per-
sonnel. Basically, that is the problem, just as it is the major problem
in your business. The reward for honest, able public service is too
often complaint, criticism, abuse and ingratitude.
It would be a tragic disaster if we forgot the tens of thousands of
honest, conscientious public servants. Generalities about crime and
corruption in government which embrace the many good with the
few bad can only make it harder to induce good people to enter pub-
We do not lose faith in the banking system because a few bank-
ers turn out to be embezzlers. When you realize that American pri-
vate business is swindled out of more than a billion dollars each year
by its employees, from clerks to executives, it is not too remarkable,
however deplorable, that government should occasionally be swin-
For the information of the public and the morale of the multitude
of decent, faithful men and women on whom government depends, it
is just as important to recognize and support the good as it is to rout
out and to punish the bad.
It does no good for the public service, where recruitment is none
too easy, anyway, what with the salary competition of private busi-
ness, when honest, conscientious public servants quit because they
don't care to be abused and ridiculed any longer.
I know what I am talking about. I am the Governor of one of the
largest states in the Union and I have had my recruitment problems.
I had an experience only last week when a very good friend of
mine, a Republican from Chicago, told me that a revenue agent had
been in to audit his returns. He had fallen into conversation with him,
and this young, able lawyer, a recent graduate from a well-known
law school who was doing this to get experience, said: "I am going to
quit. I have gone to office after office and I have been greeted by
business men and taxpayers as though I were a thief, not they."
And look at it, not alone from the point of view of the mischiev-
ous effect on a gullible public, but also from the point of view of the
consequences to the public service as a whole.
I wonder how much the people know of the stifling, the choking
ON POLITICAL MORALITY 33
effect of irresponsible witchhunting, the paralysis of initiative, the
hesitancy and the intimidation that follow in the wake of broad, gen-
eralized accusations and impede bold imagination, able thought and
discussion, which are the anvil of public policy.
I am frank to say that I get a little confused by corruption in
politics. We tend to think of it as something so simple— the simple,
unsophisticated terms of graft, of cash on the barrel head— but its
forms are many and I think of another form which we witness every
day and to which I have become acutely sensitive in my brief experi-
ence in the public service.
Perhaps the proper description is not corrupt, but expedient, for
the legislator— be he in Sacramento, or Springfield, Illinois, or Wash-
ington, D.C.— who will vote for all kinds of special-interest bills to
catch or to hold some votes while he prates piously about economy
and indignantly about waste. Call that what you will. Condone it as
you please. Even profit from it as you do now and then. Its cost to
you is infinitely greater than all thievery and rascality that captures
Have you ever heard of a candidate who was against economy
and efficiency? Of course not. It is part of the standard repertoire.
Everybody is for economy, efficiency and honesty and against
waste, sin, corruption and communism. But how about the logrolling
for laws, or their repeal to serve the interest of some group at the pub-
he expense, to catch some votes or for fear of losing some?
Many things are done which seem to be hard to distinguish from
outright bribery. Yet we will condone the one and condemn the other.
I have seen many a legislator vote for every appropriation dur-
ing a legislative session and against every tax, and babble about econ-
omy and fiscal responsibilities at the very same time, and so have you.
And what is more, they will be elected over and over again.
In the last session of my Legislature in Illinois, I presented a very
tight budget that called for no general-purpose taxes, or tax increases
in spite of all the general-cost increases in the previous two years, and
I called upon the Legislature not to add to that budget without sub-
tracting from it in order to keep it in balance.
What do you think they did? They subtracted $300,000 and added
$50,000,000. I hope it isn't indelicate to advise you that it was an
overwhelming Republican Legislature in both houses.
The Republican leader in that session sponsored and passed a
bill to increase all old-age pension allotments 10 per cent automati-
cally, although we have a system of automatic adjustment in accord-
ance with living costs. The cost of that measure we estimated at
roughly $14,000,000, but he made no effort whatever to provide any
of the money with which to pay for it.
I noted in my veto message that they had omitted from the bill
34 ON POLITICAL MORALITY
the dependent children and the recipients of general relief— I suppose
because they were not organized politically.
I could entertain you at some length with the difficulty I had to
get one Republican to vote to cut a large appropriation and thereby
balance the budget at all in a previous session. Indeed, if I recounted
all of my experiences of this kind, I am afraid you might get the im-
pression that I am slightly partisan.
But I am sure you will forgive me if I say, from where I sit, the
carefully cultivated impression that Democrats are all extravagant
and Republicans all provident is a fairy tale, and part of the phony
folklore that careful citizens will examine carefully.
And perhaps you will also, on closer consideration of the per-
formance—timid, expedient, demagogic or otherwise or worse— of a
lot of people in public office, share with me the growing confusion
about ethics and morals and corruption in our public life.
Surely, there must be some higher standards and some better test
than simply bribery for cash, but I dare say that the only way that
we will attain some higher standard of ethics and of responsibility
and of courage in public life will be compounded heavily of forbear-
ance yourself from exerting selfish pressures plus some positive ap-
plause and tangible support for the guy who is playing it straight
morally and ethically, as well as legally, in spite of the fact that you
will probably not agree with him on the merits of the issues and ac-
tions many times.
Indeed, sometimes he may not even bear your party label. Bear
in mind, too, that the "special-interest" people, especially what we
call the hoodlums and gangsters, are always very free with campaign
contributions for the right candidates at the right time. But enough
Just remember that all that is gold to a politician does not glitter,
and that to be good and stay in office, he needs a lot of help from
people who don't want anything from him except to be good.
For far too many of us, the presidential election is a quadrennial
orgy of absorption in political matters all centering around the single
issue of the identity of the man who will serve as President for the
next four years.
It seems to me to contain some subconscious element of expia-
tion for past sins. It is as if that large percentage of us who pay no
attention to politics in government for three years remorsefully seek
to repair the deficiency by talking loudly in the fourth year about the
'importance of electing the right man— our man— to the highest public
office of all.
If the people at large can only be brought to understand the wis-
dom of what we are shouting and elect our man, then the nation will
be safe for at least four years more. We have discharged our respon-
ON POLITICAL MORALITY 35
sibilities as citizens, a little tardily perhaps, but nevertheless ade-
quately and effectively. Then we can turn exclusively to other
concerns until the time rolls around again and we must clamorously
assure the national salvation.
Now, I say we must rid ourselves of the easy notion that the
right man in one job solves all of our problems. We need to level out
this sharp but narrow peak of citizens to enter politics and govern-
ment in presidential years with the long and deep valley of apathy
that lies in between.
There are other pitfalls to be found in our traditional habits of
thinking about politics and about party leaders. We like to reduce
complex issues to simple slogans. Better still, we like to deal in per-
sonalities to the exclusion of issues. And to the extent we must un-
avoidably get into issues at all, we like to weave them all into a simple
sort of brightly colored cloak which will cover our man completely
and distinguish him clearly from his competitors.
This creates the comfortable delusion that we have not subordi-
nated principles to personalities and that we know exactly where our
man stands on everything.
Most importantly, it lends itself beautifully to the oversimplified
kind of argument we love so much in which we can throw around
freely the sharp, short and fighting and meaningless words like Lib-
eral, Conservative, Leftist, Rightist, Socialist, Fascist, Communist and
all of their shopworn and barren brood.
These are all conventions which afflict the layman as well as the
Another conventional belief of politicians is what we call the mvth
of the monolithic vote— that all the votes in a bloc go one way or the
other in response to the candidate's willingness to go along with the
official position of the bloc.
I think it is a myth, and if I am right I believe this to be one of
the most hopeful and reassuring elements in our democracy.
The myth operates to frighten and to stampede many office hold-
ers into doing things against their own inclinations and their own bet-
ter judgment. Its exposure is the beginning of real statesmanship for
many who have been taken in by it.
Large organizations of Americans simply do not vote uniformly
in support of what are represented to be their special interests or pre-
dilections, and that is true whatever be the nature of the tie that
binds the group and apparently sets it apart from its fellow men,
whether it be regional, economic circumstances, geographical attach-
ment or other divisive factors.
The Senatorial election in Ohio in 1950 was a most persuasive
demonstration in this respect, as you all know. I had a similar experi-
ence in Illinois with the State Federation of Labor in 1948.
36 ON POLITICAL MORALITY
Last year, I vetoed five of the nine bills passed by the Illinois
Legislature and included in the official legislative program of the Il-
linois State Department of the American Legion. I vetoed special-
interest bills of all kinds calling for more than $40,000,000 of
appropriations and I was solemnly warned in every case that I would
lose all of the votes of the groups affected. It is a mighty good thing
I didn't run for Governor; I wouldn't have got a vote in the state.
Well, my friends, I didn't believe it then; I don't believe it now,
although if I should return to Los Angeles as a private citizen after
the first of the year, I should be glad to have lunch with you again
and eat crow.
In any event, whatever my own fate as a politician, I do know
that sound government ends when the leaders of special groups call
the tune, whether they represent capital, labor or farmers, veterans,
pensioners or anyone else. And I am convinced that the public servant
that does the right things no matter whose toes are stepped on does
not lose all of the votes of the hands that are even with those toes.
Now, there is something else I should like to mention. The twen-
ty years since the Japanese invaded Manchuria and the Democrats
invaded Washington has been a period of change as rapid and violent
as any in our history.
The forces that demanded change shattered many societies. We
have contained within the American system of democratic govern-
ment popular control and civil liberties. There has been no break in
the continuity of our institutions. The United States has held to the
course of development which it has been following for 150 years.
Now, this triumph of stability in a time of world revolution was
not accomplished by pretending that there were shortcuts to safety,
to prosperity, to freedom or social justice, or that they could be
bought at a discount. And we must not minimize the difficulties or
the dangers now in the presidential campaign year.
I say this to you in conclusion because I would not have you
think that I believe that all there is to good government is honesty
and efficiency. These are only means to an end.
In the tragic days of Mussolini, the trains in Italy ran on time as
never before and I am told in their way, their horrible way, that the
Nazi concentration-camp system in Germany was a model of horrible
efficiency. The really basic thing in government is policy. Bad admin-
istration, to be sure, can destroy good policy, but good administration
can never save bad policy.
So what I beg of you to ponder in all your governmental judg-
ment is not just how to do a job, but, and far more important, what
to do and if you can find a man who knows both what to do and how
to do it, well, you are very lucky indeed.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Veterans Memorial Auditorium
September 9, 1952
Mr. Nicholson and Ladies and Gentlemen:
I want to share with you, if I may, a letter from a California lady
who knew my parents when they lived here fifty years ago. She
writes that after Grover Cleveland was nominated for the Presi-
dency in 1892 and my own grandfather was nominated for Vice
President, she named her two kittens Grover Cleveland and Adlai
Stevenson. Grover, she writes me, couldn't stand the excitement of
the campaign and died before the election. But Adlai lived to be a
very old cat.
And this, my friends, is obviously for me the most comforting
incident of the campaign so far.
As your chairman said, because of my prior service here and
because San Francisco is our window to the Far East, I wanted to
talk soberly tonight about foreign policy.
We think and we talk these days about our dangers. We should
think and talk more about our opportunities.
Victory or defeat for a nation, as for a man, springs, first of all,
from its attitudes toward the world. The men who built the West
had victory in their hearts and songs on their lips. They were doers,
not worriers. They really believed that the Lord helps those who help
There is something badly wrong, it seems to me, with the per-
spective of men who call the last ten years the "dismal decade."
And there is something odd, too, in a point of view which at
once endorses the nation's foreign policies and promises to save you
at the same time from such enlightened bungling.
It was some such curious mixture which was served up in Phila-
delphia on last Thursday. Now I am reluctant to believe that my
honored opponent has been persuaded that bad history is good pol-
itics—perhaps he hopes that the Republican Old Guard will swallow
his bitter pill of approval of our policies if it is sugar-coated with
condemnation of Democrats.
38 WORLD POLICY
At any rate, however we interpret it, his speech in Philadelphia
does not dispose of foreign policy as an issue in this campaign. The
General's ten-point foreign program, of which three points were "throw
the rascals out," and seven were a recital of the same foreign-policy
goals which the "Democratic rascals" have been following for years,
does not, it seems to me, contribute much to our foreign-policy dis-
But foreign policy consists of much more than the setting of
goals. Even the extremist wing of the Republican party will not really
argue that peace and prosperity are bad or that the nation does not
The rub comes in doing anything to make progress toward these
goals which we are glad the Republican candidates agree upon. A
President can suggest but he cannot pass laws. That's the job of Con-
And the most powerful and numerous wing of the Republican
party— the wing that would control all of the important Congres-
sional committees— would not support the program which the Re-
publican presidential candidate endorsed last Thursday.
How do I know? Well, because the Old Guard has been fighting
that same identical program for years.
Let me illustrate.
My opponent spoke approvingly of foreign trade. Now, among
other things, it is not exactly a new idea to Democrats that a thriving
foreign trade means better markets for American agriculture and in-
dustry and a better balance in world economy.
I don't think even the Republicans will try to take credit for the
Reciprocal Trade Agreements program. Certainly the Old Guard
won't. It has been trying to wreck that program every time it comes
up for renewal— as it does again next year.
I don't think that a Republican President could even get a bill
to renew it out of a committee— not, at any rate, without crippling
amendments. Or are we to assume that the Republican leaders in
Congress have been opposing it in the past not from conviction but
just because it was a Democratic program?
I could go on— talking of their attacks on our assistance program,
even on the defense budgets, and similar knife work— for the Repub-
lican record in Congress is as long as it is wrong.
How, then, can a disunited party unite the country for the hard
tasks that lie ahead? I don't think it can. No matter how great their
commander, divided and embittered men do not win battles.
America is threatened as never before. The question history asks
and which we must answer is whether the idea of individualism— the
idea of personal freedom for you and me— is equal to the idea of col-
lectivism—the idea of personal subordination to the state; whether
WORLD POLICY 39
the idea of maximum personal liberty is equal to the idea of maxi-
mum personal discipline.
This ancient contest between freedom and despotism, which is
renewed in every generation, is acute in ours. And the most impor-
tant single event, it seems to me, in our history is that it is our turn
to be freedom's shield and sanctuary.
I don't think that war is an inevitable part of this contest. Even
the most ambitious and ruthless men do not deliberately invite de-
struction on the basis of their power. They can throw the iron dice,
but they know they cannot foretell the fortunes of war.
We who are free must have great strength in order that weak-
ness will not tempt the ambitious. And the measure of the strength
we must have is not what we would like to afford but what the ad-
versary compels us to afford.
With 85 per cent of our budget allocated to defense, it is the
Soviet Union which now fixes the level of our defense expenditures
and thus of our tax rates. The only way to emancipate ourselves from
this foreign control, and to cut taxes substantially, is first to develop
our strength and then to find the means of ending the armaments
And here let me say something to those abroad who may mis-
take our present wrangling for weakness. We have always had dif-
ferences of opinion which have produced confusion in this country
—especially in campaign years. But it is the kind of noise that, to
the inner ear, is the sweet music of free institutions. It is the kind
of noise that has produced the harmony of firm purpose whenever
our people have been put to the test.
No one can predict, and it would be foolish to try to predict,
how and when the peaceful purpose of our power will succeed in
creating a just and durable peace. But are our efforts conditional
upon assurance of prompt success? To answer "yes" would be to
accept the certainty of eventual defeat.
Co-existence is not a form of passive acceptance of things as
they are. It is waging the contest between freedom and tyranny by
peaceful means. It will involve negotiation and adjustment— com-
promise but not appeasement— and I will never shrink from these if
they would advance the world toward a secure peace.
Though progress may be slow, it can be steady and sure. A wise
man does not try to hurry history. Many wars have been avoided by
patience and many have been precipitated by reckless haste.
In Europe, our efforts to build patiently for peace are meeting
with success. The Marshall Plan has brought, as we all know, a strik-
ing improvement in the political and economic conditions. The North
Atlantic Treaty Organization is building a strong system of military
defense. Europe is not yet wholly secure against subversion from
40 WORLD POLICY
within or attack from without, but this goal of security is, at least, in
I wish I could say the same for Asia, but there would be no
greater disservice to the American people than to underestimate the
gravity of the dangers that America faces in this area, perhaps for
many years to come.
Now, it's about America's relations with Asia that I should like
to talk with you tonight, soberly and realistically.
Across the continent of Asia more than a billion of the world's
peoples are churning in one of history's greatest upheavals. All the
struggles of man over the centuries— economic, political, spiritual-
have come together in Asia and now seem to be reaching a climax.
The causes behind that upheaval are many and varied. But there
is nothing complicated about what the people want. They want a
decent living— and they want freedom.
The word used most frequently by Asians to describe their aspi-
rations is nationalism.
Nationalism to Asians means a chance to stand on their own
feet, a chance to govern themselves, a chance to develop their re-
sources for their own welfare, and a chance to prove that the color
of their skins has nothing to do with their right to walk with self-
respect among their fellow men in the world. Nationalism to them
means the end of a legalized inferiority. It means pride, spirit, faith.
This type of nationalism is not inconsistent with closer co-opera-
tion among nations nor with the need for an enforceable peace. The
Asians actually regard freedom and national independence as the
doorway to international order— just as we do.
Russia's interest in Asia is nothing new.
The expansionist aims of Russia did not change with the passing
of the Czars. But today the steel glove of a revolutionary ideology
covers the heavy hand of imperialist expansion.
The strategy of communism in Asia is to pose as the champion
—the only champion— of the Asian peoples. Communism has not cre-
ated the cause or the forces behind Asia's vast upheaval. It is at-
tempting to give direction to those forces. It seeks to impose its own
label on the multiple revolutions going on in Asia today by iden-
tifying itself with the deeply felt needs and hopes of the Asian
There's an important difference, it seems to me, between com-
munism as we view it and communism as some of the Asian peoples
view it. When we think of communism we think of what we are
going to lose. When many of the Asiatics think of communism they
think of what they are going to win— especially if they believe that
they have nothing to lose.
It's important that we know these things and think about them,
WORLD POLICY 41
for we shall never be able to cope with communism unless we under-
stand the emotional basis of its appeal.
The Communists have failed to incite the workers to revolution
in Western Europe. They have failed to turn the Western Allies one
against the other.
But the Communists may well believe that in the aspirations
and the grievances of the East they now have the key to world power.
They hope, and perhaps even expect, that the West cannot rise to
the challenge in the East.
Furthermore, they may not feel the same need for quick and
tidy solutions that is felt in certain quarters in our own country. They
may believe that they can afford to have a patience equal to the
And the stakes are nothing less than an overwhelming prepon-
derance of power— for with Asia under control, they could turn with
new energy and vast new resources in an effort to win a bloodless
victory in a weakened, frightened Europe.
These Communist expectations define the dimensions of the
threat we face in Asia and of the tasks which lie ahead for us— tasks
which can be met only by disciplined, resourceful, imaginative, and
reasoned effort. It is an effort which has two parts: defense and de-
There is active fighting, as we all know, in Malaya and in In-
do-China. Have we given fitting recognition to the hard, bitter and
prolonged efforts of the British, the French, the native Malayan and
Indo-Chinese forces? These efforts have involved heavy loss of life
and great material costs.
What will the defensive task require of us in these areas, and in
the Philippines, Formosa, Japan, and Korea? What contributions,
what commitments to security in this area should we make and can
we make to the emerging system of Pacific defense?
These are some of the questions, the hard, the ugly questions
we must face before disaster, not afterward. This is no time, it seems
to me, to kid ourselves with press agents' platitudes.
In Korea we took a long step toward building a security sys-
tem in Asia. As an American I am proud that we had the courage
to resist that ruthless, cynical aggression; and I am equally proud
that we have had the fortitude to refuse to risk extension of that war
despite extreme Communist provocations and reckless Republican
Now whatever unscrupulous politicians may say to exploit grief,
tragedy and discontent for votes, history will never record that Korea
was a "useless" war, unless today's heroism is watered with tomor-
row's cowardice. Let me say only this:
I believe we may in time look back at Korea as a major turning
42 WORLD POLICY
point in history— a turning point which led not to another terrible
war, but to the first historic demonstration that an effective system
of collective security is possible.
Having failed to defeat us on the field of battle, the enemy there
now seeks to defeat us by prolonging the negotiations and by ex-
hausting our patience.
But some men in this country seem to think that if definitive
victory cannot be won, we should either take reckless military ac-
tion or give the whole thing up. Such advice plays into the enemy's
hands. The contest with tyranny is not a hundred-yard dash— it is a
test of endurance.
This defensive effort in Korea and elsewhere in Asia is building
a shield behind which we have the opportunity to assist in the other
great task— the task of development.
Listening to the debate over China this past year, I had the dis-
tinct impression at times that the very Congressmen whose vocal
cords were most active in the cause of isolation and against foreign
entanglements were the same ones who were now talking as if they
had wanted us to take part in a civil war in China.
It would seem to me, my friends, that the Republican critics
could better demonstrate the good faith of their concern for Asia by
doing something about India and I mean doing something about
India today rather than talking about China yesterday. I don't think
that tearful and interminable post-mortems about China will save any
souls for democracy in the rest of Asia, the Near East and in Africa.
India is not caught up in civil strife. It can be helped in a way
that is natural to us and best for it; help in the ways of peace and of
social progress. India has to grow more food. It has to restore its land.
It needs new resources of power. In short, it needs a democratic
helping hand in the development programs it has already charted
The same is true of many other countries.
It is help of this kind that we can provide by sending agricul-
tural experts, engineers and other trained people to these countries,
and through programs of assistance to economic development.
By working with each country to expand the production of goods
which are needed by other countries in the region, a self-generating
and self-financing cycle of trade and development can be initiated,
which will reduce and can eventually eliminate the need for Ameri-
can aid. At the same time, we can enlarge our export markets and
develop new sources of the products we need to import.
Land reform is, of course, fundamental to the problem of Asia.
But in these ways and by this kind of friendly advice and counsel
we can help to guide this economic development in ways which will
give powerful support to democratic political institutions.
These programs are in accordance, it seems to me, with our best
traditions. And I want to assure our friends in Asia that America
will never seek to dominate their political and their economic de-
velopment. We will not try to make their societies over in the image
of our own. On the contrary, we respect the integrity of their insti-
tutions and the rich values of their cultures. We expect to leam as
well as to teach.
These programs are primarily concerned with the material needs
and wants of individual men and women. Yet we do not make the
mistake of believing that the answer to communist materialism is a
different brand of materialism.
The answer to communism is, in the old-fashioned phrase, good
works— good works inspired by love and dedicated to the whole man.
The answer to the inhumanity of communism is humane respect for
the individual. And the men and the women of Asia desire not only
to rise from wretchedness of the body but from abasement of the
spirit as well.
In other words, we must strive for a harmony of means and of
ends in our relations with Asia— and indeed with the rest of the world.
The means of our co-operation are primarily material.
If we believe the Communist threat to Asia is dangerous to us,
then it is in our own self-interest to help them defend and develop,
adjusting our policies to the constantly changing circumstances in a
world of accelerating change. But we must not, in our necessary con-
cern for the urgent tasks of defense and development, permit the
means to obscure the end. That end is the widening and the deep-
ening of freedom and of respect for the dignity and the worth of a
Some may say to you that this is visionary stuff. To this I reply
that history has shown again and again that the self-styled realists
are the real visionaries— for their eyes are fixed on a past that cannot
be recaptured. It was Woodrow Wilson, with his dream of the League
of Nations, who was the truly practical man— not the Old Guard who
fought him to the death. And in the fateful summer of 1940 it was
the vision of a Churchill that saw beyond Dunkerque to victory.
I say that America has been called to greatness. The summons
of the twentieth century is a summons to our vision, to our humanity,
to our practicality. If these provide the common purpose of America
and Asia, of our joint enterprise, of our progress together, we need
have no fear for the future. Because it will belong to free men.
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN
September 1, 1952
I am very glad to be able to be here in Grand Rapids on this Labor
Day holiday. I've been in politics only about four years and have
made the unhappy discovery that in politics and public office there
are no holidays— especially in campaign years.
But there are compensations. You have opportunities to meet
old friends, like Blair Moody, whom I have known for many years,
first as a distinguished newspaper correspondent in Washington and
latterly as the vigorous, enlightened Senator from this all-important
state. And you can thank my esteemed friend Governor Williams for
getting Blair Moody into public life.
The two of them represent the hope of our political future-
young, intelligent, clean, honest men who are prepared to dedicate
their best years to public service. When there are more men like them
giving their time and talents to our service our political life will be
better. And I am, of course, delighted that they have chosen the
Democratic party, because I did too.
I am privileged to count myself among the friends and admirers
of one of your great citizens. I knew Arthur Vandenberg well, and
served with him at four or five of the great international conferences
following the war. He paid me the courtesy of some flattering cor-
respondence and proposed me as his successor on one of the major
committees of the United Nations in 1947.
He was a great champion of our bipartisan— or, as he preferred to
call it, our un-partisan— foreign policy. Senator Vandenberg was never
doctrinaire. He was a practical and realistic man whose primary con-
cern was the protection and advancement of the welfare and safety
of his country— a foreign policy that far-seeing men and women of
both parties could support. And Arthur Vandenberg refused to play
politics with foreign policy.
These are good rules to follow today. I, for one, intend to do my
best to follow them because foreign policy is a deadly serious busi-
ness. I think it should be discussed in this campaign soberly and with
We could pay a sad price in misunderstanding or miscalculation
abroad by what we say intemperately, unwisely and hypocritically
to beguile the voters in this campaign. Our purpose should not be to
exploit people's fears, not to make empty promises of magic solutions,
but instead to discuss the real problems that confront our country in
the world, and what we actually can and should do about them.
I want to say, clearly and unmistakably, that I believe the es-
sential direction of our foreign policy is right— building the unity and
collective strength of the free countries to prevent the expansion of
Soviet dominion and control over one nation after another.
I think we must join other nations in building military, economic
and political strength which can gradually but surely lessen the rela-
tive power of the Soviet Union on world events. And I think we
must continue to work steadily at the frustrating task of putting in-
ternational affairs on a permanent basis of law and order.
These are the key purposes of our present policy as I understand
it. They are the purposes that we are seeking to accomplish through
the United Nations; through the Atlantic, Pacific, and Western Hemi-
sphere regional security treaties; through our programs of military
and economic aid to other countries; through the Point Four pro-
gram; and through our financial and commercial policies, including
the reciprocal trade program.
These things make sense. If we continue with steps like these,
adjusting and changing and improving them as we can, war be-
comes an alternative of diminishing hope to the enemy, and commu-
nism an alternative of diminishing attraction among the uncommitted
peoples of the world.
Now in all I have said here, I do not believe there is any funda-
mental issue between the Republican candidate for President and
myself. As far as I know, he, like myself, approves the basic direction
our foreign policy has been following.
Where there is an issue, however, is between the two Republican
parties that contested the nomination with such violence at Chicago,
because the Republican party is hopelessly divided over foreign pol-
icy. Senator Vandenberg, with all his great prestige and persuasive-
ness, was never able to win over the reactionary wing of his party
to his own enlightened understanding of the Twentieth Century.
That wing of the party seems stronger if not wiser since we lost
the benefit of Senator Vandenberg's leadership. And I say that with
no partisan satisfaction, because the difficulties we confront as a
nation in this revolutionary age transcend any considerations of
political advantage. And I say to you in all sincerity that winning the
peace is far dearer to me, as it is to you, Democrats and Republicans
alike, than winning the election.
My very distinguished opponent has already had occasion to
46 WORLD POLICY
disagree with conspicuous Republicans on foreign-policy issues. He
has differed sharply with members of his party who have assailed the
American action in Korea to stop and turn back Communist aggres-
sion. He has gone further to set himself against the views of impor-
tant members of his party who have called for enlarging the Korean
I think he has done us all a service by saying these things. He
knows, as every realistic American knows, that if we had not chosen
to fight in Korea, sooner or later we would have had to fight a bigger
war somewhere else. The memory of Munich is still fresh. The quicker
aggression is stopped the better. And, as it is, even with all the heart-
break and suffering and cost of Korea— even with the frustration of
the long stalemate over the armistice— it is quite possible that our
action in Korea may have headed off World War III. We may never
know the answer to that, but the tragic history of piecemeal aggres-
sion is plain for all to see.
I don't envy the General's impossible dilemma as a result of the
conflict within the party he now heads. Carrying out an effective,
positive, forward-looking foreign policy in a democracy requires sup-
port not only in the Executive, but also in the Legislative branch of
Government. How is it possible when a large proportion of his party's
members in the Senate, and more than half of them in the House, have
consistently opposed what he approves? And if elected— he would
probably carry back to Washington with him most of the same Re-
But the Republican leaders evidently have a solution for this
dismal dilemma because their Vice-Presidential candidate the other
day asserted his belief that Republicans in Congress who have op-
posed our bipartisan foreign policy will change and reverse their at-
titude if their party is successful in this election. ( I thought they were
talking about the election, but maybe this is what they mean by "it's
time for a change." )
Must we conclude from this that a lot of Republican leaders
have been opposing our foreign policy just for political reasons?
Should matters of this extreme gravity be entrusted to men who
trade their convictions so lightly?
I may be naive but I don't think a man should be in public office
whose attitude on our most important business depends on whether
a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House. Surely a vote
on foreign policy in the Congress is more important than voting in
a popularity or a beauty contest.
Happily the Democratic party is united on foreign policy. We
have our differences. If we didn't we would hardly be Democrats,
but our differences are not over foreign policy. Democratic support
of this policy is no new, sudden, confused or pretended attitude. We
WORLD POLICY 47
have worked for the building of that program from the beginning
with the advice and help of some far-sighted Republicans like Arthur
We know much about its weak points and its strong points,
and the ugly and the happy realities of our period in history. We
believe passionately in the Tightness of our directions. Our deepest
convictions and highest hopes are involved, for this is the means of
preserving our most cherished institutions, our freedoms, our future
as a Christian nation.
The price is high, dangerously high, and we look hopefully to
the time when it can be reduced, but meanwhile we must forge the
great tools for man's noblest work— achieving freedom, justice and
dignity for nations and individuals.
For a century, from Waterloo to the Marne, the British fleet pro-
tected us, but now it is our turn. It is up to this mighty nation with
our allies to advance the hopes through which man may eventually
fulfill his destiny as a child of God.
Michigan, I'm sure, takes enduring pride in the work its sons
have done and are doing for peace. Your present Democratic Senator
is Arthur Vandenberg's successor, not only by appointment but by
conviction. He is a strong supporter of the positive, comprehensive
foreign policy this nation has developed to oppose communism and
achieve peace. And he also stands for the best in the progressive
Democratic tradition in the domestic field.
It is because of Blair Moody and Mennen Williams and men like
them, running, I'm proud to say, on the Democratic ticket in Michi-
gan and other states, that our party can offer to voters of this country
a firm, consistent assurance that the clock will not be turned back
around the world, and that the decency and quality of our public life
here at home is not deteriorating but improving, and very conspicu-
ously in Michigan.
September 1, 1952
I am glad that I can spend a few minutes here with you this afternoon.
This noon I spoke to a great crowd in Cadillac Square about labor
and my hopes, indeed the hopes of all of us, management and labor
alike, for industrial peace in this arsenal of an embattled world. I made
some suggestions about what is needed in my judgment to replace the
Here in Hamtramck I want to talk with you about an entirely dif-
ferent matter. It is a very serious matter. Last week the Republican
candidate for President made a speech to the American Legion in New
York. His speech aroused speculation here and abroad that if he were
elected, some reckless action might ensue in an attempt to liberate the
peoples of Eastern Europe from Soviet tyranny.
Many of you here in Hamtramck and in other cities across the
country have friends and relatives who are suffering under Soviet con-
trol behind the Iron Curtain. Last Thursday I discussed their plight
with Representative Machrowicz and others. We agreed that we would
all deeply regret it if a false campaign issue were to be built on the
hopes and fears of these suffering people and on the anxieties of all
Americans for their liberation.
The freedom of the descendants of Kosciusko and Masaryk and
other heroes of the fight for liberty in Eastern Europe is an issue be-
tween all the free nations and the Soviet Union. It should never be an
issue between Americans, for we are all united in our desire for their
liberation from the oppressor and in confidence that freedom will again
But I want to make one thing very plain: even if votes could be
won by it, I would not say one reckless word on this matter during this
campaign. Some things are more precious than votes.
The cruel grip of Soviet tyranny upon your friends and relatives
cannot be loosened by loose talk or idle threats. It cannot be loosened
by awakening false hopes which might stimulate intemperate action
that would only lead your brothers to the execution squads; we remem-
ber only too well how thousands went to their death in Warsaw but a
few short years ago.
WORLD POLICY 49
It cannot be loosened by starting a war which would lead to untold
suffering for innocent people everywhere; such a course could liberate
only broken, silent and empty lands.
We have a responsibility to these suffering peoples. We must con-
tinue our efforts to outlaw genocide. We must review our immigration
policies. We must help provide better care for those who succeed in
escaping from behind the Iron Curtain.
Above all, we must work with others to build strong and healthy
societies in the free nations, for we know that the future freedom of
Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Eastern Germany and the other peo-
ples who have fallen under Soviet rule depends on the outcome of the
vast world-wide struggle in which we are engaged.
Not in the ashes of another world war; only in the atmosphere of
a peaceful w y orld can the reaffirmation of the right of self-determination
have any meaning, or can the enslaved nations be free and independent
I have hoped that this political campaign might reaffirm America's
dedication to the ideal of freedom and independence for all nations as
the only solid foundation for a just and durable peace.
Stalin pledged his word to us to grant these countries liberty after
World War II. He has violated that pledge. But we have not forgotten
his pledge and we shall not forget his violation. We will continue to
work for the day when all peoples will be free to choose their own gov-
ernment and to walk again erect and unafraid.
I tell you now that I will never fear to negotiate in good faith with
the Soviet Union, for to close the door to the conference room is to open
a door to war. Man's tragedy has all too often been that he has grown
weary in the search for an honorable alternative to war, and, in desper-
ate impatience, has turned to violence.
Action for action's sake is the last resort of mentally and morally
exhausted men. The free nations must never tire in their search for
peace. They must always be ready to sit down at the conference table,
insisting only that any agreement must conform to the spirit of our great
war-time pledges and the Charter of the United Nations.
With our friends we will seek patiently and tirelessly for the rule
of law among nations. That law has been written. It is the Charter of the
United Nations. It remains for every nation to respect it. That is the
I think that progress toward that goal depends more on action than
on angry words. I think the Soviet Union will be influenced only by a
steady, serious, undeviating determination to build up the strength of
the free w r orld— not with a view toward war but with a view toward
preventing war and negotiating the conditions of peace.
It is on this road to peace that I ask you to join me if you see fit to
charge me with the honor and burden of the Presidency. I honor that
office too much to seek votes at the risk of the safety and security of
our nation. I humbly request that you consider carefully what I have
said. I deeply fear that great injury could be done to our nation and
to ordinary men and women everywhere if this political campaign were
to descend to the level of competitive threats and veiled hints of im-
My opponent is an honorable man. He has given the most distin-
guished military service to his country. I believe that he wants to serve
the interest of peace and justice just as well and as much as I do. I
respect his integrity.
I hope that recent statements by him and his advisers have been
misunderstood. I cannot believe that they deliberately intend to arouse
doubts and apprehensions about the steadiness with which America will
pursue its peaceful purposes.
I think that their words can be interpreted, if we read them care-
fully, as an endorsement of the European policies which this Govern-
ment has been following and with which they have been closely identi-
fied. This is, I note, the conclusion of the New York Times, a great and
responsible newspaper which is supporting his candidacy.
I deeply hope that this will prove to be the case, for we are dealing
here with something more than the awful abstractions of power politics;
we are dealing with the lives of millions of our fellow men and our
kinsmen across the seas.
Defeat begins in the heart. The peoples of Eastern Europe will
never lose heart. They have kept their faith alive before, through long
periods of darkness. We too must keep faith. We must not allow the
recklessness of despair to find any lodging in our hearts. With indom-
itable faith and courage, with unfaltering determination, we must con-
tinue to strive for a future in which all peoples will know the joys of
liberty for which their fathers have bled and died so often in the eternal
struggle between freedom and tyranny.
September 1, 1952
Mayor Cobo, Governor Williams, Senator Moody and all these distin-
guished guests and my friends of Detroit:
Let me say at the outset that I am very much flattered, indeed, by the
presence here of his honor the Mayor of Detroit. I am conscious of your
recent serious illness, Mr. Cobo, and I am very much flattered by your
presence here. I trust that your participation in this tremendous holiday
festivity and your association with so many Democrats won't have
caused you any relapse.
I stand before you today as a fugitive from a sweat shop down in
Springfield, Illinois. Down there the speed-up is in full force, but we
aren't complaining a bit. In fact, we like it because we believe in our
job and we are going to win in November.
This, my friends, is Labor Day of an election year, and I think
candidates ought to get a day off too. But if they got off they might not
get in. So I've welcomed the invitation to come to Detroit to talk to
you about the relationship between the Democratic party, which I
represent, and the working people, which you represent.
Contrary to the impressions fostered by some of the press, you are
not my captives, and I am not your captive. On the contrary, I might as
well make it clear right now that I intend to do exactly what I think
right and best for all, for all of us— business, labor, agriculture— alike.
And I have no doubt that you will do exactly what you think at the
You are freeborn Americans— a proud and honorable station, car-
rying with it the right and the responsibility to make up your own
minds— and so am I. So if either of us thinks in terms of captivity, let's
agree right here and now on a mutual pact of liberation.
The interest and the obligation of the President must be the com-
mon interest. His concern for labor, as for industry, is only as a part of
the common interest. I would intend to honor that office by complete
freedom to serve not one man or a few, but the whole nation. And I
think that is precisely what you would want me to do.
The relationship between the Democratic party and the working
52 LABOR POLICY
people of America is a very simple one. We both believe in equal rights
for all and in special privileges for none. We both believe that the
objective of our country and of its Government is to achieve human
decency to meet human needs and to fulfill human hopes.
We take honest open pride in what the tremendous progress of the
last twenty years has meant, not for the Democratic party, but for the
whole nation. We pulled ourselves, as you know, out of the quicksand
of depression. In fighting an awful war we did our part and we did it
We have made America the best place to live and work in the world
has ever known— a land where men are assured a decent wage and
security when their work is done; a land where the mother can know
that her children's opportunities are bright and limitless.
But these things, my friends, are not permanent. They have to be
fought for, fought for by each succeeding generation. So it's my obliga-
tion, I think, to give you my ideas of our common interests, my thoughts
about our common future.
I see three sets of common interests in the labor field. These are
positive interests, constructive interests. We have talked, it seems to me,
too much in terms of labor wars, too little in terms of labor peace, too
much in terms of stopping things by law, too little in terms of estab-
lishing industrial democracy.
There is our first common interest in securing to all who work the
minimums of human decency. This means, among other things, that the
men and women in our working force, some 62 million of us, shall
receive a decent living wage, insurance against the risks of disability
and unemployment, and the assurance of solid, not token, security when
life's work is done.
It means, too, that we must struggle tirelessly to add to these assur-
ances equality of work opportunity for every one of us— regardless of
race, of color or of creed. Human decency is the theme of our history
and the spirit of our religion. We must never cease trying to write its
guarantees not just into our laws, but into the hearts and the minds
A second key to our common interest is that the men and women
in our working force are consumers as well as producers.
Our welfare is not measured by what we get from the payroll
clerk, but by what we get at the store and the school and the hospital,
and by what we have left to put in the bank. Meeting such problems as
inflation, as housing and the high cost of living is not part of a labor
policy, it's part of a national policy. It's not just part of a labor program
because it's part of a national problem.
The working man cannot and must not think of his welfare as
something separate and apart from the common good. The interests of
the factory worker, the white-collar worker, the employer, the farmer
LABOR POLICY 53
are all rooted in the soil of national well-being. If your employer's busi-
ness fails, for example, you are out of a job. We are utterly dependent
on one another, and what is best for the nation is best for all of us and
is best for each of us.
Our third common interest is in the process of collective bargaining
—the keystone of industrial democracy, of free enterprise.
Democracy is working when free men solve their own problems in
their own way and in their own political and industrial communities.
The 80,000 private collective-bargaining agreements today in effect are
alternatives to laws and better than laws.
They are voluntary private solutions which make unnecessary
involuntary government decisions. They prove that the most useful
thing the Government can do is to assure a fair bargaining balance by
guaranteeing to employees the right to act together.
The only legitimate purpose of a Federal labor-relations law is to
make private bargaining work better. And that purpose has not, in my
judgment, been served by the Taft-Hartley Act.
Now, in 1947, we needed some revisions of the old Wagner Act.
We needed some new rules for labor peace. Well, we got a new law all
right— a tangled snarl of legal barbed wire, filled with ugly sneers at
labor unions and built around the discredited labor injunction.
I don't say that everything in the Taft-Hartley Act is wrong, it isn't.
And moreover, I'll say frankly that I don't think it's a slave-labor law,
either. But I do say that it was biased and politically inspired and has
not improved labor relations in a single plant.
We must have a new law and my conclusion is that we can best
remedy the defects in the old law by scrapping it and starting over
again. What should be retained from the old law can best be written
into the new law after the political symbolism of the Taft-Hartley Act
is behind us.
Now, if I may, I— and I hope I don't impose upon you— I should
like to suggest five general principles as the basis for a new labor rela-
tions law. I believe they represent the public interest in a fair, solid,
durable pattern of free collective bargaining. And I think labor and
management can agree on them too, if they'll only throw their guns
on the table.
Point number one is that the law must accept labor unions, like
employer corporations, as the responsible representatives of their mem-
The Taft-Hartley Act assumed that the unions could not be trusted
to determine whether their members wanted a union shop. After the
expenditure of millions of dollars to hold thousands of Government-
conducted elections, in 95 per cent of which the employees voted for
the union shop, the Congress last year finally repealed this gratuitous
insult to the labor unions.
54 LABOR POLICY
But the Act still prohibits other forms of union-security arrange-
ments developed over many years by labor and management together
in such cases as the maritime industry, the building trades and the
The Congress arbitrarily said, "We know better than unions what
is good for employees." The result could have been predicted. Today
several thousand employers and several million employees are oper-
ating under bootleg agreements in flagrant violation of the statute.
Point number two is the other side of point number one. If labor
unions are to be accepted as the full representatives and guardians of
employee interests in the collective-bargaining process, then labor
unions must conform to standards of fair conduct and equal protection
in the exercise of their stewardship.
A few unions, my friends, made by law the exclusive representa-
tives of certain groups of employees, abuse that trust by excluding from
membership some who want to work, denying them a vote, denying
their seniority rights because of the color of their skin or because of
restrictive notions about employment security. That's not right.
And, my friends, that's not democracy. Unions which are given
powers by Government should be open to all on equal terms. I know
it's the view and the practice of the vast majority of American unions
and union members to reject any idea of second-class citizenship based
on race or monopoly.
And speaking of industrial democracy, let me say that you, too,
have a responsibility to participate in the affairs of your unions. The
union exists for your benefit. If there is anything wrong with it, if you
don't approve of the officers, if you don't like the union's policies, if
there are racketeers or Communists, then it's up to you and your fellow
members to do something about it. You have your own democratic
But you can't do it by sitting at home and complaining, any more
than you can get better men in government by staying away from the
polls. Those who really work at self-government, moreover, will find
deep satisfaction, and so will you.
Now number three of my suggestions is that a new Federal labor
law must outlaw unfair bargaining practices by companies or unions.
The Taft-Hartley Act, like the Wagner Act, prohibits certain types
of unfair labor practices by employers, such as discriminating against
union members or forming company unions. The Taft-Hartley Act
added a list of union unfair practices. The unions have protested vigor-
ously against this addition.
Yet I think it is only common sense to acknowledge that we must
forbid such practices as jurisdictional strikes and strikes or boycotts
attempting to force an employer to deal with one union when another
has been certified as the representative of his employees.
LABOR POLICY 55
It is equally clear, however, that the prohibitions in the Taft-
Hartley Act are so broad and so jumbled as to outlaw proper, along
with improper, conduct— even, on occasion, to require union members
to act as strikebreakers.
These provisions must be completely rewritten, with the intention,
not of stripping unions of as much bargaining power as possible, but
only to prohibit resort to those extremes which fair-minded judgment
identifies as unreasonable.
Point number four is rejection of the labor injunction. We agreed
to this once. In 1932, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Norris-La
Guardia Act to prohibit the labor injunction. The vote was 326 to 14 in
the House and 75 to 5 in the Senate.
Then, fifteen years later, in the Taft-Hartley Act, the labor injunc-
tion—the process of haphazard prejudgment— was disembalmed. No
showing of need was made for it, and that tyrannical power to have men
and women ordered back to work in smothered silence has no place in
today's labor law.
My fifth, and the last point that I presume to make to you, is that
new methods must be found for settling national emergency disputes.
We are willing, as a nation, to put up with serious inconveniences
when bargaining stalemates result in shutting down production. Col-
lective bargaining is a form of free competition. And, in Justice Holmes'
phrase, "free competition is worth more to society than it costs."
We cannot, however, tolerate shutdowns which threaten our
national safety, even that of the whole free world. The right to bargain
collectively does not include a right to stop the national economy.
The Taft-Hartley answer for this problem was the injunction. All
that law boils down to is that in national emergency disputes employees
shall be ordered to work for another eighty days on the employers'
This remedy has been administered now nine times. Fairminded
critics have concluded that in only two of these cases did it do the
slightest good. In the others it either had no effect at all or actually
delayed private settlement.
I have no miracle-drug solution for this problem. I am clear,
though, that where the Government must intervene in these private dis-
putes, its purpose must be not just to stop the strike, but to see that the
dispute gets settled.
I am clear, too, that the new law must recognize that these emer-
gency cases are always different. It's a proven mistake for Congress
to prescribe in advance the same old patent medicine for all of
What we need is a completely new law— one that will provide for
investigation and reporting to the public on the issues involved, one
that will provide for more effective mediation between the parties. Its
56 LABOR POLICY
purpose should be to keep these cases out of the White House, not to
put them in.
But the Congress should give the President a choice of procedures,
not present him with no alternative when voluntary agreement proves
impossible; seizure provisions geared to the circumstances; or arbitra-
tion; or a detailed hearing and recommendation or settlement terms; or
a return of the dispute to the parties.
Such a law would leave the obligation to settle these disputes
where it belongs— and that's with the parties. But it would not strait-
jacket this settlement process.
It would express the firm voice of a nation which demands a fair
and a quick settlement, and offers constructive help toward a solution.
Now these, my friends, are the outlines of a law consistent, it seems
to me, with our democratic practices. They outline a minimum law, and
a minimum law is what we need. And, I would hope, indeed I expect
that in the larger area of common agreement that exists today the repre-
sentatives of labor and of management, meeting in a spirit of give and
take and of sincere search for industrial peace in the national interest,
could agree on such a law.
Finally, let none of us forget that labor problems are human prob-
lems. The ultimate answers do not lie in the legislator's inkpot or in the
The common denominator of all I have said today is confidence-
confidence not in law or government, but in one another, in free men
and free women; confidence in the private organizations they have set
up, the private processes they have worked out to meet their common
problems. For, if I can leave anything of certainty with you, it is that
the greatest hope for industrial peace is not in laws, but in private
It's hard to remember that here in Detroit fifteen years ago a
mighty industry was paralyzed, and fighting in the streets between
bitter men was an imminent possibility. Today the automobile com-
panies and the workers have a five-year contract, giving the nation an
assurance of labor peace infinitely firmer than any Congress could ever
My friends, when we have come so far we know we can go farther.
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LAROR
New York City
September 22, 1952
Mr. Green, officers, delegates to the convention, friends of the American
Federation of Labor:
I appreciate, Mr. Green, your very favorable introduction and your
invitation to speak here today, and I might say that I hope that we all
survive the sunstroke that seems to be threatening from the galleries.
This convention has followed the American tradition of giving a
hearing to both parties to an argument, and I am glad to take my turn.
You have been transacting your business here for eight days. And
I would think it was high time for a little humor. But I fear that there
may be some people listening who don't like the light touch, although
—well, for your benefit I say that they don't seem to mind the heavy
touch as long as it is a Republican and not a Democrat. But, gentlemen,
there is business before your house and I propose to get right to it,
obeying, as far as I can, what seems to me to be coming to be known
as the Republican law of gravity.
Now, I have been told that I should try here today to make you roar
with enthusiasm. Why, I would not do that even if I could. After all, you
are the responsible leaders of organized labor, which, if it does not act
responsibly, could do the nation and the working people infinite harm.
And I, in turn, am a candidate for the most important individual re-
sponsibility in the world. If I were more comforted by your cheers than
your thoughts I would hardly merit the confidence of responsible men.
So you will, I hope, understand that what little I have to say, or
rather to add, to the many speeches you have dutifully listened to, is
intended for your heads and not your hands. And, if I don't start any
cheers, I hope at least that I shall not stop any minds.
First I should like if I may to dispose of this matter of the Taft-
The Democratic platform says that the Taft-Hartley Act is "inade-
quate, unworkable and unfair," and should be replaced by a new law.
I developed, on Labor Day, the five basic respects in which the present
law seems to me defective and I outlined some five principles to guide
the writing of a new one.
58 LABOR POLICY
How to get a new one? The method, whether by amendment of the
existing law or replacement with a new one, has, frankly, seemed to me
less important than the objective. But, because the required changes
are major changes, because the present law is spiteful, and because it
has become a symbol of dissension and bitterness, I urge, therefore, as I
did on Labor Day, that the Taft-Hartley Act be repealed.
The Republican platform commends the Taft-Hartley Act because
among other things it guarantees to the working man, and I quote, "the
right to quit his job at any time."
To this deceit they add the insistence that the real issue here is
whether the present law should be "amended" or "repealed." This is
not the real issue. The real issue is what changes should be made in the
law of the United States. But, if repeal were in itself the issue, I would
remind Senator Taft that he himself has publicly recognized twenty-
three mistakes in his favorite law, and it seems not unreasonable to
recommend that a tire with twenty-three punctures and five blowouts
—and I think it not unreasonable to suggest that such a tire needs junk-
ing and not a recap job with— and especially a recap job with— reclaimed
Now there has been, too, the usual barrage of intemperate name-
calling. Why is it that when political ammunition runs low, inevitably
rusty artillery of abuse is always wheeled into action? To face the facts
of labor relations is to be accused of "captivity," and of "turning left."
Now these are words without roots, weeds which grow in darkness and
wither in the sun. But the sun is sometimes slow to rise— especially cam-
paigning. And I am reminded of the saying that a lie can travel all
around the world while the truth is pulling on its boots. All of this stuff
actually about right and left reminds me of the restriction of a church
that was seeking a new minister. The deacon said in addressing the
congregation: "We want someone who is not too radical and not too
conservative. Not too far to the right and not too far to the left— just
Now the final Republican maneuvers were executed on this plat-
form last Wednesday. I am grateful that it was the Republican, Senator
Morse, who revealed so masterfully how all of those explosions we
heard were only blank cartridges.
It is proposed now apparently to change the Taft-Hartley Act in just
two respects: by removing what the speaker called the union-busting
clauses, and by making employers, like union leaders, swear that they
are not Communists. The tinkling sound of these little words was unfor-
tunately smothered in the thundering silence of what was left unsaid.
And on only one point was there anything even approaching a
joining of the issues.
It was charged that I had "embraced," and I quote the words, "the
principle of compulsion" by asking for the power as President to "com-
LABOR POLICY 59
pel" arbitration of disputes which threaten the national safety. Now,
after that great reunion with Senator Taft on the love seat at Columbia
University, I must say I respect the General's authority on the subject of
embraces. But if he wrote what he said, he had not read what I said.
My proposal was, and is, that if Congress sees fit to direct the
President to intervene in a labor dispute it should give the President
authority to try, among other things, to have that dispute referred to
arbitration. I did not say that he should be given the power to "compel"
arbitration. I recommended a flexibility of procedures, all built around
the mediation process, to replace the present requirement that in all
of these cases the collective-bargaining process be stopped— stopped
dead— dead in its tracks, by a court order.
Now what my distinguished opponent would do I cannot deter-
mine. If that was his purpose, by the way, he succeeded. He says he is
against compulsion. Yet he seems to support the present law, which
compels men to work under court injunction for eighty days on terms
they have rejected. I find it hard to see where there can be a greater
compulsion than this. And if I read what he says as fairly as I can, I
gather that in fact he recognizes this too and agrees with me, and with
you, that the labor injunction is not a fair or effective dispute-settling
He cites with approval the Norris-LaGuardia Act which was
passed, so he said, under his party's administration in 1932. Now this
will all seem a pretty broad claim to those who remember that the
House of Representatives in the Seventy-second Congress was safely
Democratic, and who can't see much resemblance between Republicans
like George Norris and Fiorello LaGuardia, on the one hand, and Sena-
tor Taft and Representative Hartley on the other. He didn't mention the
fact that that Act virtually outlawed the labor injunction in the Federal
courts or that it had been seriously cut down by the Taft-Hartley Act. I
wonder if by any chance Senator Taft deleted such frankness from the
But the General in his talk to you did recognize squarely that issu-
ing injunctions, and I quote him, "will not settle the underlying funda-
mental problems which cause a strike." That is one statement we can all
agree with. The trouble is that the Taft-Hartley Act was written by
those who don't recognize that squarely.
But enough of the labor-relations law. There are other problems of
equal concern to American labor.
When many of you first came into this business, the only job of
American labor— and it was a tough one— was to organize workers and
to bargain with employers. This is still perhaps your main job. But you
also have greatly expanded your interests and broadened your horizons.
One of the most significant developments in our national life is that
the American labor movement is today much more than an instrument
60 LABOR POLICY
of collective bargaining. It has become a vital agency of a working
Your purposes extend to making America strong in a free and a
peaceful world, and to seeking all the democratic goals to which the
Government of this country is dedicated.
I should like, therefore, to discuss with you how we can best make
this relationship work— this partnership, if you please, between govern-
ment and an independent organization like the American Federation of
Labor, both devoted to the same ends.
We recognize, to begin with, that in this partnership no partner
can be allowed to dominate the other. Labor unions, like all private
persons and organizations, must maintain an independence from gov-
ernment. Government, including political parties, must be independent
of any private bodies.
As spokesman for the Democratic party, at least for the moment, I
put this in plain language, not because you of the A. F. of L. misunder-
stand, but because others try to misrepresent. I am glad that the Demo-
cratic party and the American Federation of Labor have both been
guided for a long time by the same stars— stars that have led us toward
the realization of human hopes and desires.
But our functions are different, and our responsibilities are differ-
ent to different groups, even if these groups possibly overlap. The
Democratic party is the party of all the people. Were it otherwise, it
would be false to democracy itself.
We seek then a pattern for full co-operation, but one which recog-
nizes our mutual independence.
And what are the specific things we can do in moving toward the
human goals we hold in common?
We can start, because the opportunity is so obvious, by making
the Department of Labor a more effective service agency. To mention
a few specific responsibilities here is to suggest many others :
1. Given sufficient funds, the Bureau of Labor Statistics could, it
seems to me, better perform its essential service as keeper of the people's
budget, and serve a much broader function than it now can. And
2. We should consider a labor counterpart of the Agricultural
Extension Service to help train the men who make democracy work in
the labor unions and around the bargaining tables. And
3. The retraining of men who are replaced by machines and direct-
ing them to new jobs, where now we simply pay them unemployment
compensation, and could save both manpower and tax money.
4. Again the National Labor Relations Board, operating outside
the Labor Department but in this same field, must be staffed to process
cases in half the time it now takes, for in this field particularly "justice
delayed is justice denied."
5. Then there is the problem of the migrant farm laborers. Over a
million Americans who move north and south with the sun and the
seasons, their lives often bleak cycles of exploitation and rejection, it
certainly invites our compassionate attention.
Strengthening the Labor Department is an old subject. Advocacy
is always easier than action. But I lay what I hope is not immodest claim
to at least a journeyman's qualifications. My apprenticeship was served
in getting, and assisting to get, at least a partial labor program— over
fifty bills— through a Republican Legislature in Illinois.
It will also be an important development in democracy that men
and women will come in ever-increasing numbers from your ranks to
positions of key responsibility in government.
What you have to offer, in all of our essential governmental pro-
grams, has been perhaps best proven by the contribution that labor has
already made on the international front.
Your effective fight against communism goes clear back to the time
it was called bolshevism. You have licked it in your own houses, and
you have gone after the roots from which it grows.
I join with my distinguished opponent in saluting you for these
accomplishments. One wonders why his party forgot them when, in
1947, they singled you out as peculiarly suspicious characters and
required your taking a special oath of loyalty. I hope you don't misun-
derstand me— I am neither courting nor embracing when I acknowledge
and applaud the job you have done. Not only through the International
Labor Organization, the Economic Co-operation Administration, the
Department of State, but through your own offices— rejecting the Com-
munist World Federation of Trade Unions; pressing the case in the
United Nations against forced labor in the Soviet Union; supporting
free trade unions in Europe and Asia and in South America; helping
build up popular resistance wherever the spiked wall of Russia throws
its shadow over free men and women. Where men's minds have been
poisoned against democracy, many will learn that America is free, and
they will only learn it as they hear it from you when you say that you
are free. I say that to the workers of other nations "yours is today per-
haps the clearest voice that America has."
I am proud, as a Democrat, that a Democratic administration has
recognized this and I hope that more and more union leaders will be
called upon to serve their country abroad. I think we need diplomats
who speak to people in the accents of the people. Ambassadors in over-
alls can be the best salesmen of democracy.
There are other tasks ahead, many of them here at home. President
Truman listed the biggest among these jobs in his message to this con-
vention, the priority jobs in making America still stronger and ever
How well we meet these problems together will depend upon, it
seems to me, these three tilings:
First, that we understand each other; and second, that we exercise
our powers always with firm self-restraint; and third, that we hold fast
to the conviction that only people are important.
The understanding which flows between the party for which I
speak and the enormous group you represent requires no detailing here.
To remember the loneliness, the fear and the insecurity of men who
once had to walk alone in huge factories, beside huge machines— to
realize that labor unions have meant new dignity and pride to millions
of our countrymen— human companionship on the job, and music in the
home— to be able to see what larger pay checks mean, not to a man as an
employee, but as a husband and as a father— to know these things is to
understand what American labor means.
Franklin Roosevelt knew these things. Harry Truman knows these
things. But they are the imponderable human elements that some
among us, unhappily, have never understood.
Now— as to the exercise of our powers.
The Democratic party has been entrusted for twenty years with
the awesome responsibility of leadership in governing the United
States. During these years, the labor unions have become strong and
vigorous. American labor, too, has enormous power today and enormous
responsibilities. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. It is rather
cause for very real humility. It is the whole history of mankind that
power lacking the inner strength of self-restraint will be eventually cast
It is the history of the Republican party that it supported, and was
supported by, those interests which believed that freedom meant the
right to exercise economic power without restraint. And the party was
It has been the basic belief of the Democratic party that only
human freedoms are basic and that economic power must be exercised
so as not to curtail them. We hold, too, that the power of government
must be restricted to the point that government stands never as master
and always as a servant.
It is no less essential to the future of democracy that America, that
American labor, walk wisely with its power. Your awareness of this has
been shown in many practical ways. There is, most recently perhaps,
the forthright and heartening manner in which you have attacked the
problem of jurisdictional strikes. Your joint-board procedure in the
building trades and your prohibitions upon picketing in support of
jurisdictional claims are examples of sound self -regulation directed
against the abuse, and, therefore, the corruption of power.
You have expressed your willingness to accept procedures which
recognize the priority of the public interest in national emergency
disputes. You today accept the fact that, in the private free-enterprise
system which we all recognize as basic to our liberty and our pros-
perity, employees can prosper only as their employers do, and that ir-
responsible demands are only self-defeating.
Yet American labor, like the Democratic party, faces new and
uncharted tomorrows. You, as we, will be challenged anew to measure
up to the demands of both freedom and power. The future of democ-
racy, perhaps the future of our world, depends upon the exercise of
power by America's private and public bodies alike with that self-re-
straint which separates power from tyranny and order from chaos.
The fullest guarantee against irresponsibility lies in the constant
reminder that people, and only people, are important.
American labor's role, its whole purpose has been to restore to
people the status and dignity they lost when the sprawling factories
reached out to engulf them. Hence, for example, your insistence that
there be a community law of job rights— seniority rules— to stand be-
side the law of property rights.
Equally has the Democratic party drawn its strength, I think,
from the people. We have built our program on their hopes, stood by
them in adversity and found the measure of our accomplishment in
their welfare. We have written the laws of twenty years from pictures
in our minds of men and women who, tired after a day's full work,
who are defeated if a week's wages don't buy a week's food, who are
out of a job, or who are sick or have finished a life's work. We believe
in a government with a heart.
Yet we are told that we have gone too far.
What do they mean? Are they saying that our people are too
well fed, too well clothed, too well housed? Do they say that our chil-
dren are getting more and better schooling than they should? Have we
gone too fast in our efforts to provide equal opportunities to working
men and women of all races and colors? Are the 62 million workers of
America too healthy, too happy? Should fewer of them be working?
The Republicans say they want a change. Well let them, then,
speak out: Which of these things do they want changed?
With mutual understanding, with a humbling sense of our power,
with belief in our masters, the people, we shall see to it, my friends,
that these things are not changed.
I want, if I may, in closing, to salute a tradition of leadership
which embodies all I have been trying to say here today. The founda-
tions of that tradition were laid by Samuel Gompers, and they have
been built upon by William Green. You have held, sir, if I may say so,
to the ideal of democratic leadership— the leadership which seeks the
good of all, the leadership of him who wants only to serve.
I am deeply grateful, Mr. Green, to you for your introduction. I
am grateful to all of you for the cordiality of your reception here to-
day. And now, if you will excuse me, I'll continue to do the Lord's
work in my way.
At the National Plowing Contest
September 6, 1952
I am grateful for the opportunity to talk with you about national farm
policies. I won't waste your time this afternoon in telling you, in the
political tradition, all about how I am myself a farmer.
I own farm land in Illinois, and I come from a family that has lived
in the heart of the farm belt for over a hundred years. But I am here
today as a candidate for public office— not masquerading as a dirt farmer,
but as a politician.
My first venture into public service was in Washington in the old
triple-A [Agricultural Adjustment Administration]. This was in the
desolate days of 1933, when the American farmer, like everybody else,
was flat on his back. I do not want to suggest to anyone that we Demo-
crats are still running against Herbert Hoover!
But I am thankful for my A.A.A. experience, because it showed me
in a way I will never forget how bad conditions can get on our farms.
I left A.A.A. with the resolve that we as a people must never permit our
farmers to undergo such want and privation again.
In this spirit, Democratic administrations have developed the farm
policies of the last twenty years. As a result, we of this generation, who
saw farm conditions at their worst in 1932, have had the happy privilege
of seeing them over the last decade at their best. I am proud of the work
my party has done in these twenty years to restore the American farmer
to a position of equality and dignity in our national life.
For the last three and a half years I have been Governor of a great
agricultural state. In this capacity I have worked closely with farmers
and farm organizations. With their help and co-operation, we have re-
organized our State Department of Agriculture; and, if you will permit
me a commercial here at Kasson for a rival show, we have improved our
great state fair and cut the cost to the taxpayer by two-thirds.
I have relied on their advice in other fields, too— notably school and
highway legislation. We now have under way in Illinois the largest high-
way program since the advent of the hard road. For the first time, a share
of our gasoline tax is going to the townships for the rural roads.
FARM POLICY 65
I come to you today as the Democratic candidate for the greatest
responsibility on earth— the Presidency of the United States. I am run-
ning on the Democratic platform. I believe it is a good platform. I be-
lieve its agricultural plank is clear, definite, and sound. I can stand on it
without squirming. I feel no need to modify this provision or that, to
explain or to reinterpret, to dodge or to hedge.
And I am for this platform, above all, because I believe that its
pledges are not just in the interest of the fanner— they are in the public
interest. I know that the American farmers do not want, nor will they
get through any effort of mine, anything more than what is justified by
the larger good of the commonwealth.
We can all stand on the words of the first philosopher of American
agriculture, Thomas Jefferson: "Equal rights for all; special privileges
A society can be no better than the men and women who compose
it. The heart of any farm policy must therefore be the life of those who
work the farms. Our objective is to make that life full and satisfying.
We believe, as Democrats have always believed, that our society
rests on an agricultural base. It is our determination to keep that base
solid and healthy. Our farms must grow more than crops and livestock.
They must grow what Walt Whitman described as the best bar against
tyranny— "a large resolute breed of men."
This means that farm policy must focus first on the question of farm
income. This is not because farmers are more concerned with money
than any other group in society. It is because farmers, like all other citi-
zens, are entitled to a fair return for their labor and a fair chance in the
world for their children.
In the past, the labor of the farmer has remained the same; but his
income has risen or sunk according to the unpredictable fluctuations of
the market. It has been a constant objective of our Democratic farm
programs to maintain farm income— and thereby to assure the farmer
that he can provide food, medical care and education for his family.
The way we have chosen to maintain farm income is to support farm
prices. Our platform lays this out in clear language. Here is what it says:
"We will continue to protect the producers of basic agricultural com-
modities under the terms of a mandatory price-support program at not
less than 90 per cent of parity."
There are no if s, buts or maybes about this. And I think it is a policy
that most farmers today understand and believe in. I only wish that
everybody understood it so well.
One place it was clearly not understood was at the great fracas in
the Chicago stockyards, two months ago, where one of the casualties
was the farm plank in the Republican platform. There are, of course,
two Republican parties for agriculture as well as two Republican parties
for foreign policy and almost everything else.
66 FARM POLICY
As you all know, the Chicago slaughter finally ended in a cease-fire
agreement. According to that agreement— better known as the Repub-
lican platform— Republican policy is "aimed"— that is their word— is
"aimed" at parity levels.
That phrase may have looked good in a smoke-filled room in Chi-
cago. It isn't very clear here in the daylight in Minnesota. There is, and
no one should know it better than my distinguished opponent, a vast
difference between aiming at a target and hitting it.
How good is their aim, anyway? Their sights were a mile off in June
of this year when more than half the Republican members of the House
of Representatives voted against the law that extended price support at
90 per cent of parity through 1954.
If the Republican candidate says one thing, and the Republican
platform says something else, and the Republican members of Congress
say still others— how can anyone tell what a Republican administration
would actually do in Washington?
There should be no mystery about price supports. What our pro-
gram does is to place a floor under our agricultural economy in order
to protect the farmer against sudden and violent price drops.
What it does is to maintain farm income— and the farmer's purchas-
ing power— in those uneasy moments when there is a temporary glut in
the market, or when real depression threatens. By stabilizing farm in-
come, our program maintains markets for the business man and the
The total effect, obviously, is to help stabilize the whole national
economy at a high level of production and employment.
I know that opponents of the program claim that price supports
raise food prices for housewives. Let us examine this charge a moment.
Food prices are high enough today, Heaven knows. But supports are not
the reason. High employment and strong purchasing power— in short,
prosperity— are keeping most farm prices above support levels.
What the support program does do is to encourage farmers to grow
more food. You can now plant crops, fairly secure in the knowledge that
prices will still be good at market time. That is one reason why farm
production has increased almost 50 per cent in the last twenty years.
The support program thus helps to keep supply up with demand— and
that is the way to keep prices from going up.
The price-support program thus does more than assure a decent
life and a fair opportunity for most of our farm families. It also improves
the life of the boys and girls in our cities.
From your farms today food pours in a steady stream to every corner
of the country. Think what this means in the terms of human lives! We
are feeding 30 million more people than there were in our land in 1932;
and we are giving the average American a far better diet.
More than that, this better diet costs the average person no greater
FARM POLICY 67
share of his income after taxes than it did in 1932— if he was lucky enough
to have any income, after or before taxes, in that gloomy year.
I am not presuming for a moment to say that support at 90 per cent
of parity is necessarily the permanent or only answer. Economic condi-
tions are constantly changing and I think this program, like all our eco-
nomic policies, should be constantly reappraised to determine if it is
fair to the taxpayer and responsive to our needs. We are all interdepend-
ent and the only certainty of a stable, prosperous agriculture is a stable,
The price-support program is doing a good job for the basic crops-
corn, cotton, wheat, rice and the others— for which loan and storage
operations are now in effect. The same protection could be accorded to
other storable commodities.
For perishable products, however, such as hogs, dairy products,
fruits and vegetables, these loan and storage operations do not work
well. Yet these products provide about three-fourths of all the income
received by farmers.
Our first line of defense for the producers of perishables is, of course,
a strong economic policy that will insure, so far as it is humanly possible
to do so, high employment and purchasing power.
But behind this there should be protection against unreasonably
low prices for those producers of perishables who need it. They should
know they can expand production and that the public that benefits will
I do not underestimate the difficulty of finding a satisfactory
method of doing this. And I can only hope that with continued careful
study and close consultation with farmers and their leaders ways will
be found to do something both practical and effective.
The farm problem has changed much since the Thirties. Once abun-
dance created surpluses because people could not buy what the farmer
could produce. Today we seek even greater abundance as we look ahead
to a 30 or 40 million increase in our population in the next twenty-five
Nevertheless, there is the constant necessity to adjust output to
need in the short run. We have worked out excellent voluntary meth-
ods for doing this.
The Republican leadership would now dispense entirely with pro-
duction controls. "We do not believe in restrictions on the American
farmer's ability to produce," their platform states in one of its rare bursts
I do not like acreage allotments and marketing quotas myself. I
hope— we all have good reason to hope— that a growing population and
expanding markets will keep us from again needing controls for staple
But farmers have learned from bitter experience that we need these
68 FARM POLICY
controls in reserve. I learned how useful they could be in the hard school
of the Triple-A. Incidentally, there could be no tobacco program at all
right now without marketing quotas— as every tobacco farmer knows.
I would never favor controls for the sake of control. But I think we have
to face a practical problem when we see one.
Price policy is the heart of the farm program but it is not the whole
of it. Fanning is a way of using our great inheritance of water and land;
and it is a way of life. Our effort must be to improve the fertility and
productivity of our farms, and to improve the quality and content of life
for our farm families.
I hope to have a personal part in the continuation and extension of
the policies which in the last twenty years have given farm life new
strength and new dignity— and so restored it to its old place of honor
in the republic.
We of this generation are the trustees of soil and water resources
for our children and their children. We have an elaborate soil-conserva-
tion program. It too should have constant scrutiny to determine if we
are getting the maximum value in land improvement out of our conser-
vation tax dollar.
We still have far to go in upstream flood prevention and water and
forest conservation. And I wish I could say that every farmer was using
the best conservation methods to protect his farm— methods such as
those demonstrated here at Kasson yesterday and today at this magnifi-
cent and celebrated exhibition. With the kind of local leadership we see
here today, we will get the job done everywhere in time, and I would
say very soon in Minnesota.
You may have heard that, where administration is concerned, I am
no admirer of mere size. Let us strive for big men, not big government.
We must continue to decentralize the management of our agricultural
and conservation programs and, if anything, increase farmer participa-
tion. I think we can go further toward making local administration
compact and efficient, and getting dollar-for-dollar value for the money
Rural electrification is one of our finest national achievements in
this generation. It is more than a Government program. It is a
It means electric lights for farm families who have had to live by
coal-oil lamps. It means electric power for the farm wife in place of the
back-breaking labor of the old-fashioned washtub and the hand pump.
It means electric power to grind the farmer's feed, heat his brooder
house, and help him with a hundred other chores. You know about this
in Minnesota, where the number of electrified farms has risen from 7 per
cent in 1935 to 90 per cent today.
The great task of bringing electricity to the farm is now far along
to completion. It must be finished, and generation and transmission
FARM POLICY 69
facilities must be adequate to meet the constantly growing demand for
power on the farm, at prices the farmer can afford to pay.
We must also look toward the time when every farm home may be
in touch with its neighbors, the doctor, and the world through rural
The chief agency in this miraculous transformation in country liv-
ing has been the farmer-owned co-operative. It is a wonderful example
of people solving their own local problems in their own way, and its
effectiveness must not be crippled by hostile legislation.
There is one final part of our farm program which especially con-
Farm ownership and the family farm are the foundation on which
our whole agricultural system is built. From 1880 to 1932 we lost ground
on farm ownership.
In these years— years, incidentally, when Republicans were mostly
in power and hadn't yet invented that slogan "It's time for a change"—
the proportion of farm owners declined, until by 1932, 43 per cent of all
farmers— two out of every five— were either tenants or sharecroppers.
That trend has now been reversed; three-fourths of our farmers now
own their farms. We have recovered, in twenty years, the ground lost in
the previous fifty.
Things are not yet as they should be. Many young, vigorous and
ambitious men would like to become owners of farms. What is more
serious, many farmers cannot, with their existing land and equipment,
make a decent living from the soil.
There is a notion abroad that all farmers are now prosperous. In
1950, more than 1,000,000 farmers had net incomes from all sources,
including outside employment, of less than $1,000.
How can a farmer rear, clothe, and educate a family on that? Who
can say that such a family shares in the American abundance? We can
take pride in our remarkable progress, but we cannot be complacent.
Research, housing and credit programs particularly must be focused
on this problem of rural poverty. No one should promise miracles here;
but there must be ways to help the industrious small farmer who wants
to help himself.
That kind of American is a good risk. And no one knows it better
than my running mate, Senator John Sparkman, who has led the battle
for them, and who was himself one of eleven children of an impoverished
This nation faces a stern present and a challenging future. The
American farmer has a great role to play in these next critical years of
precarious balance in the world. Our national commitment to an expand-
ing economy rests upon the continued growth of our agriculture.
Our struggle to strengthen the free world against communism de-
mands the continued and growing productivity of the American farm.
70 FARM POLICY
A hungry man is not a free man. In the long run, peace will be won in
the turnrows, not on the battlefields.
The last twenty years have established a framework of justice and
equity within which the farmer can do his indispensable part for the
greater strength and safety of our nation. Only in an atmosphere of
growth and confidence can the farmer make his necessary contribution
to our nation, and our nation its necessary contribution to the world-wide
fight for freedom.
If I didn't feel that the party which saw our needs and charted our
course in the past is the best custodian of our future I would not be
the Democratic candidate for President or here at this great day in
Kasson asking not for your thanks, but for your confidence.
September 1, 1952
I appreciate your invitation to join you for a few minutes this Labor
Day afternoon. I'm getting a new slant on what Labor Day means. I
have never worked so hard on Labor Day before. It seems to me I
have seen and talked to half the people of Michigan today. It would
probably have been better for me if I hadn't, but I've enjoyed every
minute of it, every word and every handshake. But no baby kisses
yet. When do they start? I would hate to think that all the babies in
Michigan are Republicans.
When I was a boy I never had much sympathy for a holiday
speaker. He was just a kind of interruption between the hot dogs, a
fly in the lemonade. But here I am, on the other end of the oratory. I
can't say I like it and I doubt if you do either. But we have some
mighty important things to talk about.
We have an election coming up this fall and elections are always
important in a democracy— and I mean to the people as well as the
candidates! Because of the troubles that beset us all over the world
and here at home, this may prove one of our most important elections.
This is Labor Day, and I suppose you want to hear my views on
labor. But so many people have already heard them that I'm tired of
talking about that subject. And I want to add only this thought that I
did not mention in Detroit.
Labor problems carry a high voltage these days. People make
up their minds about who's right or wrong and what's right or wrong
with little or no knowledge of the facts. Most of them react like the
tired mother when she hears late-afternoon bickering in the back
yard: "Go see what Willie's doing and tell him not to."
There are three parties to labor disputes— the workmen, the com-
pany, and the public. And speaking for the public, I say that one of
the biggest needs in the labor field today is the development of an
informed and fair-minded public attitude toward labor problems.
We must stop treating labor and management like fighting cocks,
taking sides and egging them on. This kind of fomented disagreement
isn't good. It is magnifying honest differences of opinion into artificial
72 SOCIAL SECURITY
barriers between large groups of people. We are talking ourselves in-
to a kind of class hatred. And there can't be class hatreds or group
antagonisms in a healthy democracy.
But I don't want to talk about that here in Flint. I want to talk
about our Republican friends who seem to be trying, by various
sleight-of-hand tricks, to divert people's attention from the issues.
The only thing that matters, they say, is to get a change. Don't pay
any attention to what kind of change you'll get— just vote for us, we'll
change things, all right.
Now as far as the Republican leaders are concerned, this desire
for change is understandable. I suppose if I had been sewn up in the
same underwear for twenty years I'd want a change too. But as far as
the rest of us are concerned, I suggest we consider very carefully be-
fore we accept a check written out "change "—and signed by a party
that hasn't supported any change in twenty years— except the Taft-
But I don't think the American people are going to be misled. It
takes more than a new paint job to hide Model-T ideas. Take, for ex-
ample, the issue of social security. (And I have talked about almost
everything else today!) The Republican candidate this year says he's
for expanding social-security benefits and giving them to more peo-
ple. Well, I was glad to hear that, though it sounds a little odd in
view of some other things he has said in the past. He now says he
thinks things like social security should be above politics.
Well, I agree with him. They should. But apparently my es-
teemed opponent doesn't realize that the reason social security is a
political issue is because his adopted party hasn't been conspicuously
enthusiastic about it all these years, to say the least! And don't look
now, General, but I suspect they aren't yet. The Democrats would
have been glad to place social security above politics any time in the
last twenty years. But the Republicans wouldn't let us.
The Social Security Act was passed in 1935 by the Democrats,
with the Republicans voting no. It has been expanded twice already,
over Republican objections. Why, the only time the Republicans have
had control of the Congress in twenty years, that famous 80th Con-
gress, the Republicans not only did not give social-security protection
to more people— they actually took social security away from people
who already had it!
The record is hardly convincing proof that the Republican party
either considers that social security is above politics, or is a reliable
sponsor for the growing social-security program which the General
says he favors.
But when I talk here, for the Democratic party— and I mean all
of the Democratic party— about expanding the social-security pro-
gram I'm not just talking about bringing more people under social
SOCIAL SECURITY 73
security, and raising the retirement payments to a more reasonable
level. There is far more in our concept of social security. There is the
Federal-State-local health program— the program which brought Flint
the new McLaren General Hospital, and which has built many hos-
pitals where they were desperately needed in my State of Illinois and
all across the country. And that need for hospital and clinical facili-
ties is by no means satisfied, as every doctor will agree.
I am talking, too, about a sound program which I hope we can
develop to reduce the financial hazards of serious illness and remove
the fear of husbands and fathers that a sudden accident or sickness
will force his family onto public charity. And I don't mean what has
been called "socialized medicine," either.
I am talking, too, of the kind of program which will go beyond
unemployment insurance and will tackle the problem of unemploy-
ment itself. You know, here in Flint, from your own experience, how
unemployment can strike suddenly and unexpectedly. And you know
also how intelligent, imaginative work— such as Governor Williams
and Senator Moody have done recently— can improve an unemploy-
ment situation. The spectre of unemployment and depression haunts
everyone who has to work for a living, and that's most of us these
days. The Democratic party is proud of the steps it has proposed and
the country has taken these past twenty years to conquer this recur-
rent misfortune. But, like peace on earth, the goal has not been won.
And, like the quest for peace, we must keep everlastingly at the cause
and cure of economic disaster. There is work in this country for every
one of us. That must always be. And when we talk of social security
we talk of keeping the core of social security strong— not just of in-
surance against insecurity but of eliminating the causes of insecurity.
There are a lot of other issues in this campaign too. I wish there
were time to talk about them today. There isn't. I have only tried to
suggest to you, by one example, how real these issues are.
A democracy is a live society— and growth is the essence of life.
We are by no means satisfied— nor will we ever be. There is tomorrow
to conquer— and to improve. That you, the citizens of Genesee Coun-
ty, are aware of these issues is reflected in the fact that 79 per cent of
you who are eligible voters are already registered. I hope all the rest
of the eligibles register too, and that in November you do your duty
as citizens of this great Republic which carries the hopes and fears of
all the world.
You will hear a lot about the need for a change. You will hear
the Republicans say that the Democrats have been in too long. Re-
member what my friend Congressman Bill Dawson says: "How long
is too long, if it's good?"
September 8, 1952
I am told that when Paul Bunyan reached the Northwest, he retired.
The reason is obvious: Paul could not stand the competition. Every-
thing in the Northwest is built bigger, or grows faster, or produces
more kilowatts than anything anywhere else. At least so I have been
confidentially informed by everyone I've met in Wyoming, Montana,
Idaho, Oregon and Washington in the last three days.
And, you know, after flying over and driving across and looking
at much of the Northwest on several trips out here, I'm willing to ac-
cept the statistics. I hope you will give the same treatment you've given
me to some of the Republican orators who are glooming about these
days, saying that the country is coming apart at the seams.
The rapid growth of the Northwest is very significant for the fu-
ture of the United States. It means that what used to be essentially a
colonial domain, run by absentee industries, is now coming of age and
playing its full part in the progress of our nation.
And there is something very interesting about this growth. A great
part of it has been due to what my opponents are fond of calling a
centralized, despotic bureaucracy, the Federal Government. Year after
year we have been told how this ogre has been wasting the taxpayers'
money in the Northwest on a series of fantastic projects.
This process of bankrupting the United States by wasting money
on the Northwest has had a long history. I can trace it at least as far
back as 1867 and a certain Secretary of State who was denounced for
being soft toward Russia. At this moment we can hear— or could if an
unaccustomed mood of silence should come upon me— the whistles of
steamers bound north for Seward's Folly. The development of Alaska
has meant traffic, commerce, profits, population for the Northwest.
Now, if you and I have our way, Alaska will soon be a state.
Think of what Alaska has already meant, think of what the con-
tinued development of its natural resources will mean, to the Northwest
THE PEOPLE'S NATURAL RESOURCES 75
and to the United States at large. Think of the watchtower and fortress
it is against the Communist threat, and how close to the heart of our
economy that threat would be if it had remained in Russian hands.
The profligate waste of the taxpayers' money by a spendthrift bureauc-
racy has paid off. Seward's Folly has become our wealth and our se-
Now I draw a moral from this story. The moral is that the people
who conduct the nation's business frequently know what they are do-
ing—partisan assertions to the contrary notwithstanding— and that an
investment made on behalf of the public is not necessarily money
poured down a rathole— or out here I should say money over the dam.
Not far to the east of us tonight is that notorious white elephant,
Grand Coulee Dam. Our atomic weapons would not have been de-
veloped without the power generated by Grand Coulee and Bonneville
on the Columbia and by those other white elephants in the Tennessee
Valley. The water stored by Grand Coulee is beginning to make fields
and orchards of the barren land in the Columbia Basin.
In some people's view, you will remember, Grand Coulee and
Bonneville were not only a waste of the taxpayers' money, they were—
and this was a worse crime— they were an interference with the sacred
right of private monopoly to leave a region undeveloped. They were
Homer Bone's folly, Charley McNary's folly, Franklin Roosevelt's folly.
Thanks to the faith of men who could see future cities instead of
present sagebrush, thanks, if I may state the blunt fact, to the courage
of Democratic politicians, supported by the minority of progressive
Republicans who in twelve years of Republican rule after 1920 had
broken their hearts in fighting their own party's lethargic and hostile
attitude toward Western development, these dams were built and
others are a-building.
One of them commemorates Senator McNary who, like a certain
present Senator from the same state, never let his Republicanism stop
him from voting for Democratic policies. Water for irrigating crops,
power for homes and farms and industries— these are the results of
public investment and they are the lifeblood of the Northwest.
Now I observe that far from diminishing, stifling or crippling
private enterprise, these activities of the Federal Goverment have mul-
tiplied, stimulated and strengthened private enterprise in the North-
west—and in the rest of the country too, for you cannot enrich one
section without enriching all the others.
So I draw another moral. Works like Grand Coulee and Bonneville
were beyond the capacity of private enterprise to undertake.
If the Government had not built them they would not have been
built at all. Hard American common sense concludes that where private
enterprise is unable or unwilling to develop our resources, the Govern-
76 the people's natural resources
That is what we have been doing, usually against the opposition
of the Republican leadership. And that is what we must keep on doing.
The battles in this field are by no means over. The Government is
contemplating additional developments that will add more badly
needed kilowatts to the power supply of the Northwest, more water
for the lands that stand ready to produce, more transportation to get
the product cheaply to market.
There will be opposition in the f uture as there has been opposition
in the past. But the resource development of the West will go on be-
cause the people— not just of the West but of the whole country— want
it to go on.
The extra power that would, for example, open up a now-unused
natural resource, the great phosphate-rock beds in Idaho, and make
possible a large production of fertilizer, has a meaning for the prairies
of the Middle West, for the South, for every farmer throughout the
country who wants to get the best out of his land.
When we invest in projects that more than pay for themselves, we
act as prudent trustees of the public wealth and our heirs will profit
from our wisdom. But it is public funds we invest. The return of the
investment must be real, not hypothetical, and the gains must be na-
tional, not merely local.
We must be eagle-eyed and tight-fisted about these expenditures.
The magic phrase "engineering feasibility" and the blessing of the local
interests are not enough to justify a public project.
It must pass the harder tests of the comparison— would this money
be better spent on rehabilitating eroded farm land in the South or ex-
hausted range land in the West, rather than on reclaiming a desert?
And it must pass another, more immediate test— is the coming fiscal
year the one in which to start this investment of public funds at all?
These are hard, practical questions that must be faced. I have
faced them in my own state. I know how complicated they are on a
nation-wide scale. Projects and proposals from all parts of the country
compete for public investment.
I am not sure that the office of Presidency is well enough
equipped, as things now stand, to appraise them with detachment and
with critical authority. The Hoover Commission has made suggestions
for increasing the effectiveness of executive review; it may be that
even better means can be devised. I intend to find out.
Building a public project, however, is only half the story. Bitter
battles have been fought— and many of them are still unsettled— over
who gets the good from public investment. There are always plenty of
private interests that want to appropriate the benefits for themselves.
I give you two illustrations.
The first is power. In an unbroken line from the turn of the cen-
tury the policy of Congress has been that the benefits of power pro-
THE PEOPLE'S NATURAL RESOURCES 77
duced from public funds shall be spread widely, especially among
domestic and rural consumers, and shall be sold at the lowest possible
rates that will repay the investment with interest. To accomplish this,
the laws provide that preference in the sale of public power shall be
given to co-operatives and public bodies, and that public transmission
lines may be built where necessary to reach them.
Here in the Northwest you have seen these policies work— and
work well. Your R. E. A. [Rural Electrification Administration] co-
operatives, your public-utility districts and your municipal systems, as
well as private utility companies, are tied in with the power-producing
dams by the Government's backbone transmission system.
Your power rates are low; your homes and farms use two or three
times as much power as the average for the nation. Yet these Federal
power policies are being fought right now as hard as they were ever
fought in the past.
No two regions are the same and the particular adjustment of
private and public generation, transmission and distribution systems
that the Northwest worked out cannot be exactly followed everywhere.
But the principles are the same everywhere; and the benefits of public
investment must accrue to the general public.
My second illustration is the national forests— whose protection
and development by the Federal Government was once fought bitterly
as interference with the rights of private enterprise and a waste of
Today, the national forests are a vast resource of virgin timber and
reforested areas. They are increasingly valuable to private timber oper-
ators, as the last available replacement for logged-out areas, and to all
the industries that depend on a supply of forest products.
They are of increasing value, too, for recreation, as the population
of the Northwest increases, and as the inhabitants of regions less
bountifully endowed with natural beauty come here in increasing
Many forest problems remain to be solved— access roads for log-
ging operations, fire-protection roads, trails and access roads for vaca-
tionists, loopholes in the mining laws that permit people who do no
mining to cash in on timber or recreation. These must be solved but
there is a much bigger problem.
The greatest importance of the national forests is the protection
of watersheds. In many parts of the West, protection of the forests and
grasslands means the difference between healthy streams and destruc-
tive loss of the water— dependable water supplies as against floods,
silted-up irrigation systems and dams filling with sediment.
That is why we must resist efforts to take away from the public
the control of the forest ranges. I do not share my opponent's scorn
for what he calls an absentee landlord. These ranges should be used,
78 the people's natural resources
used well and widely, for grazing purposes. But they are public prop-
erty and they must be managed for the public interest.
These battles for the public interest in our forests, and rivers, and
other natural resources must go on, and they must be won. They must
be won here on the spot and they must be won in the Congress.
That is why we need in Congress vigorous, progressive Represen-
tatives and Senators— men like Henry Jackson, here in Washington,
Mike Mansfield in Montana and Joe O'Mahoney in Wyoming, to carry
on their teamwork in the public interest with Warren Magnuson, Jim
Murray and Lester Hunt. They are all tough fighters, proven by public
service. The Congress and the nation need all of them.
We are only at the beginning of a long-term effort to make our
resources match our needs. Just recently President Truman's Materials
Policy Commission made some careful estimates about how much
power, fuel and raw materials of all sorts the nation will need twenty-
five years from now, when its population is likely to be 30 or 40 million
Their figures are startling. They estimate, for instance, that we
may need four times as much aluminum as we are producing today
and three times as much electric power.
To meet such demands will require our best efforts. We shall have
to import from abroad large additional amounts of many materials.
That, incidentally, will have the helpful effect of gradually building a
firmer basis for workable economic relationships among nations.
But we will have to do far better than we have been doing with
the resources within our own borders. Soil and water, fish and wild-
life, forests and grasslands, minerals and water power— they are all re-
lated to one another in nature's order and we cannot separate the
problems of one from those of all the others.
Our approach must be unified, on a wide front, by integrated
plans, by co-operative effort. This means better administrative ar-
rangements within the Federal Government and intelligent and
better co-ordinated action by states, by localities, and by private
Most of all, it means better co-operation among all the agencies,
public or private, that deal with natural resources.
I have emphasized public policies tonight because I am a candi-
date for office and want to make clear where I stand on the problems
a President must deal with. But I believe with all my heart that the
job of widely using the resources with which nature endowed the
United States is very largely a job for private action.
It requires every private landowner, every mine and timber oper-
ator, every man in private enterprise, to act with an eye for the public
good as well as private gain. Because unto us much has been given, of
us much will be required. And I thoroughly believe that the generality
THE PEOPLE'S NATURAL RESOURCES 79
of Americans are men of goodwill, who put the public good before
their own gain.
There will always be selfish people, there will always be groups
who try to turn our common inheritance to their private profit, and it
will always be the job of government to restrain them. But there is too
much talk of conflicting interests.
The natural wealth of the United States is our common trust. We
must husband and increase it for the future, and our emphasis must
be not on rivalry or conflict but on co-operation.
In the United States we have always made our bet on tomorrow.
We have always believed that the developing economy would make
America steadily wiser and more powerful, and would spread the
benefits of a rising standard of living more widely among our citizens.
Generation by generation we have won that bet.
Now in our time we confidently believe that there will be no halt
in the process that has made us the richest and the most powerful
nation in the world.
We must be faithful and wise stewards of the riches we have in-
herited. We must imagine greatly, dare greatly, and act greatly. For
on what we do now the future will depend— the future not only of our
people but of the world.
THE AMERICAN LEGION CONVENTION,
NEW YORK CITY
Madison Square Garden
August 27, 1952
I have attended altogether too many conventions not to know how
you are all beginning to feel here on the afternoon of your third day.
You work hard at Legion business most of the day, and then devote
the balance of your time to the museums, art galleries, concerts and
other cultural monuments of New York. And, of course, you have to
listen to speeches too. I console myself with the thought that this
punishment, while cruel, is not unusual.
I have no claim, as many of you do, to the honored title of old
soldier. Nor have I risen to high rank in the armed services.
My own military career was brief. It was also lowly. An appren-
tice seaman in a naval training unit was not, as some of you may
also recall, a powerful command position in World War I. My ex-
perience thus provided me with a very special view— what could be
called a worm's eye view— of the service. In 1918 I doubt if there was
anything more wormlike than an apprentice seaman. I must add,
though, that from a very topside job in the Navy Department during
the frenzy of the last war I sometimes had nostalgic recollections of
apprentice seamanship when someone else made all the decisions.
After the first war, many Americans lost sight of the fact that
only the strong can be free. Many mistook an ominous lull for per-
manent peace. In those days the Legion knew, however, that he who
is not prepared today is less so tomorrow, and that only a society
which could fight for survival would survive.
The Legion's fight to awaken America to the need for military
preparedness is now largely won. We have made great advances in
understanding the problem of national security in the modern world.
We no longer think in terms of American resources alone. We under-
stand the need for a great international system of security, and we
have taken the lead in building it.
We have joined our strength with that of others— and we have
done so in self-protection. We seek no dominion over any other
THE VETERAN 81
nation— and the whole free world knows it. If there are those behind
the Iron Curtain who don't know it, it is because their masters don't
want them to know it.
I am not sure that, historically, there has been another powerful
nation that has been trusted as the United States is trusted today.
It is something new under the sun when the proudest nations on
earth have not only accepted American leadership in the common
defense effort, but have also welcomed our troops and bases on their
territory. Ports the world around are open to American warships by
day or night. Our airmen are stationed in the most distant lands.
Yet all is not perfect. There are still vital interests which we and
our allies are not militarily prepared to defend.
Some of us are reluctant to admit that peace cannot be won
cheaply by some clever diplomatic maneuver or by propaganda.
We have not yet really faced up to the problem of defending our
cities against the rapidly growing threat of Soviet air power. There is,
for example, a great shortage of volunteers for our civil defense
Finally, many only partly understand or are loath to acknowledge
that the costs of waging the cold war are but a fraction of the costs of
So there remain important tasks for us. I believe in a strong na-
tional defense, and I believe that we must press forward to improve
our position and not waver or hesitate in this interval when the scales
are so precariously balanced.
While I think it is true that today the fight for preparedness is
going well, there are other and even more difficult tasks that we dare
The United States has very large power in the world today. And
the partner of power is responsibility. It is our high task to use our
power with a sure hand and a steady touch— with the self-restraint
that goes with confident strength. The purpose of our power must
never be lost in the fact of our power— and the purpose, I take it, is the
promotion of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
We talk a great deal about patriotism. What do we mean by
patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what
we mean is a sense of national responsibility which will enable Amer-
ica to remain master of her power— to walk with it in serenity and wis-
dom, with self-respect and the respect of all mankind; a patriotism
that puts country ahead of self; a patriotism which is not short, fren-
zied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of
a lifetime. These are words that are easy to utter, but this is a mighty
assignment. For it is often easier to fight for principles than to live
up to them.
Patriotism, I have said, means putting country before self. This
82 THE VETERAN
is no abstract phrase. Unhappily, we find some things in American
life today of which we cannot be proud.
Consider the groups who seek to identify their special interests
with the general welfare. I find it sobering to think that their pres-
sures might one day be focused on me. I have resisted them before
and I hope the Almighty will give me the strength to do so again
and again. And I should tell you now, as I would tell all other or-
ganized groups, that I stand to resist pressures from veterans, too, if
I think their demands are excessive or in conflict with the public
interest, which must always be the paramount interest.
Let me suggest, incidentally, that we are rapidly becoming a na-
tion of veterans. If we were all to claim a special reward for our
service, beyond that to which specific disability or sacrifice has cre-
ated a just claim, who would be left to pay? After all, we are Ameri-
cans first and veterans second, and the best maxim for any adminis-
tration is still Jefferson's: "Equal rights for all, special privileges for
True patriotism, it seems to me, is based on tolerance and a large
measure of humility.
There are men among us who use "patriotism" as a club for at-
tacking other Americans. What can we say for the self-styled patriot
who thinks that a Negro, a Jew, a Catholic, or a Japanese-American is
less an American than he? That betrays the deepest article of our
faith, the belief in individual liberty and equality which has always
been the heart and soul of the American idea.
What can we say for the man who proclaims himself a patriot—
and then for political or personal reasons attacks the patriotism of
faithful public servants? I give you, as a shocking example, the attacks
which have been made on the loyalty and the motives of our great
war-time chief of staff, General Marshall. To me this is the type of
"patriotism" which is, in Dr. Johnson's phrase, the last refuge of
The anatomy of patriotism is complex. But surely intolerance and
public irresponsibility cannot be cloaked in the shining armor of
rectitude and righteousness. Nor can the denial of the right to hold
ideas that are different— the freedom of man to think as he pleases.
To strike freedom of the mind with the fist of patriotism is an old
and ugly subtlety.
And the freedom of the mind, my friends, has served America
well. The vigor of our political life, our capacity for change, our cul-
tural, scientific and industrial achievements, all derive from free in-
quiry, from the free mind— from the imagination, resourcefulness and
daring of men who are not afraid of new ideas. Most all of us favor
free enterprise for business. Let us also favor free enterprise for the
mind. In the last analysis we would fight to the death to protect it.
THE VETERAN 83
Why is it, then, that we are sometimes slow to detect, or are indiffer-
ent to, the dangers that beset it?
Many of the threats to our cherished freedoms in these anxious,
troubled times arise, it seems to me, from a healthy apprehension
about the communist menace within our country. Communism is
abhorrent. It is the strangulation of the individual; it is the death of
the soul. Americans who have surrendered to this misbegotten idol
have surrendered their right to our trust. And there can be no secure
place for them in our public life. Yet, as I have had occasion to say
before, we must take care not to burn down the barn to kill the rats.
All of us, and especially patriotic organizations of enormous influ-
ence like the American Legion, must be vigilant in preserving our
birthright from its too zealous friends while protecting it from its evil
The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live,
and fear breeds repression. Too often sinister threats to the Bill of
Rights, to freedom of the mind, as I have said, are concealed under
the patriotic cloak of anti-communism.
I could add, from my own experience, that it is never necessary
to call a man a Communist to make political capital. Those of us who
have undertaken to practice the ancient but imperfect art of govern-
ment will always make enough mistakes to keep our critics well sup-
plied with standard ammunition. There is no need for poison gas.
Another feature of our life that I think invites a similar restraint
is the recurrent attacks in some communities upon our public schools.
There is no justification for indiscriminate attacks on our schools
and the sincere, devoted, and by no means overpaid teachers who
labor in them. If there are any communist teachers, of course they
should be excluded, but the task is not one for self-appointed thought
police or ill-informed censors. As a practical matter, we do not stop
communist activity in this way. What we do is give the Communists
material with which to defame us. And we also stifle the initiative of
teachers and depreciate the prestige of the teaching profession which
should be as honorable and esteemed as any among us.
Let me now, in my concluding words, inquire with you how we
may affirm our patriotism in the troubled yet hopeful years that are
The central concern of the American Legion— the ideal which
holds it together— the vitality which animates it— is patriotism. And
those voices which we have heard most clearly and which are best re-
membered in our public life have always had the accent of patriotism.
It is always accounted a virtue in a man to love his country. With
us it is now something more than a virtue. It is a necessity, a condition
of survival. When an American says that he loves his country, he
means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glis-
tening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and
the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which
freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect.
Men who have offered their lives for their country know that
patriotism is not the fear of something; it is the love of something.
Patriotism with us is not the hatred of Russia; it is the love of this
Republic and of the ideal of liberty of man and mind in which it
was born and to which this Republic is dedicated.
With this patriotism— patriotism, in its larger and wholesome
meaning— America can master its power and turn it to the noble
cause of peace. We can maintain military power without militarism;
politicial power without oppression; and moral power without com-
pulsion or complacency.
The road we travel is long, but at the end lies the grail of peace.
And in the valley of peace we see the faint outlines of a new world,
fertile and strong. It is odd that one of the keys to abundance should
have been handed to civilization on a platter of destruction. But the
power of the atom to work evil gives only the merest hint of its power
I believe that man stands on the eve of his greatest day. I know,
too, that that day is not a gift but a prize; that we shall not reach it
until we have won it.
Legionnaires are united by memories of war. Therefore, no group
is more devoted to peace. I say to you now that there is work to
be done, that the difficulties and dangers that beset our path at home
and abroad are incalculable. There is sweat and sacrifice; there is
much of patience and quiet persistence in our horoscope. Perhaps
the goal is not even for us to see in our lifetime.
But we are embarked on a great adventure. Let us proclaim our
faith in the future of man. Of good heart and good cheer, faithful to
ourselves and our traditions, we can lift the cause of freedom, the
cause of free men, so high no power on earth can tear it down. We
can pluck this flower, safety, from this nettle, danger. Living, speak-
ing, like men— like Americans— we can lead the way to our rendez-
vous in a happy, peaceful world.
The New South
September 20, 1952
I was reminded that my grandfather, a candidate for Vice President,
spoke here in Richmond exactly sixty years ago this week in the Acad-
emy of Music. According to the newspaper account, the audience re-
sponded enthusiastically to his "exposure of the iniquities of the Repub-
lican tariff system," and he took his seat amid "deafening applause."
For the deafening applause his grandson is prepared to wait the
conclusion of his remarks, and meanwhile any reference to Republican
iniquities will be wholly unintentional.
Here in Richmond tonight, in Virginia, rich both in history and in
the knowledge of its history, I am moved to talk for a few minutes of
This is not an idle task. We can chart our future clearly and wisely
only when we know the path which has led to the present. A great
philosopher has said that those who can't remember the past are con-
demned to live it again.
The South is a good place to take our bearings, because in no part
of the country does the past— a past of great nobility and great tragedy
—more sharply etch the present than in the South. It is a good place to
think of the grim problems of war and peace which weigh so heavily on
all of us today.
For here we can best learn the lessons suggested by the peace of
1865, made when the great voice of moderation had been stilled. The
victor's settlement permitted the South to keep its charm, its mocking-
birds, and its beaten biscuits. For himself the victor retained only the
money and the power.
It took the South decades to recover. During these bleak years,
from 1865 to 1912, the Republican party was constantly in power, ex-
cept for the two discontinuous terms of Grover Cleveland. And, again,
between Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, it had another long
term of rule. The Democratic party, therefore, had the dubious distinc-
tion of wandering in the desert for a longer time than the children of
Israel after their flight from Egypt.
For the South this period was a desert without an oasis. But how-
ever hard it was to bear at the time, we in the more fortunate present
can view it with a semblance of charity. For the Republican leadership
did not neglect the South and other Democrats simply because you were
In its frozen impartiality it also neglected Republican farmers,
small business men, and working people. Men earned the neglect of the
Republican leaders not by their political affiliation, but by being small
and poor. This is why so many people have shifted to the Democratic
The Republican leadership did not merely treat the South with
arrogant and massive neglect. It did more. It shackled the South, and
millions outside the South, through its control of Congress, its control
of money and banking, its favoritism to powerful interests, its espousal
of high tariffs, high interest rates and unfair freight rates.
In the larger sense you became colonials of an empire which, if it
was not alien, was at least absentee. Yours was primarily an agricultural
economy, depending for cash income largely on cotton and tobacco.
Of these you produced far more than could be consumed at home.
You paid exorbitant rates of interest for mortgage and crop loans.
Nobody consulted you about freight rates. You just paid them. Crops
sold for what they would bring, because farmers could not hold them
for higher prices. Bitterly they witnessed prices rise only after their
crops had gone out of their hands.
It is interesting to recall that more than half a century ago Southern
and Western farmers pleaded for Government warehouses where they
could hold their crops for better prices in exchange for certificates at 80
per cent of the market value. The plan was denounced by Republican
leaders as socialistic, a phrase they evidently never get tired of.
But now, since the Democrats have enacted essentially the same
plan, the Republicans approve enthusiastically. Indeed, bidding for the
farm vote up in Minnesota the other day, the Republican candidate for
President pulled the Democratic platform right out from under me.
But to return to the past. When you marketed your crops abroad,
you sold in free markets for the going price. But when you bought
manufactured goods at home, Republican tariffs compelled you to pay
through the nose. You have been protesting this injustice since at least
the year 1828.
Of course the Republican tariff wasn't all bad. It generously per-
mitted Americans to worship at duty-free altars; eat from duty-free tin
cans; import duty-free yachts; be hanged with duty-free rope; and ad-
mire duty-free paintings in museums.
The Republicans were still at their old game only a little while ago,
and I wish we could be sure they would not return to it if they have a
chance. Over the protest of over a thousand American economists they
enacted the Smoot-Hawley tariff that raised rates to an all-time high.
THE NEW SOUTH &7
I need not tell Virginians, or your tobacco-growing and tobacco-
processing neighbors, what that did to tobacco exports. Nor need I re-
mind Southern cotton growers and cotton manufacturers how they were
harmed; or say that this tariff was a turning point in precipitating the
world-wide depression of the 1930's.
But I am not going to talk about the depression when the average
yearly income of the families of one Southern state was $200. I have
said— and I repeat— that I am not running against President Hoover.
Indeed, I think all of us have reason to be grateful to him for the work
of the Hoover Commission. And the fact of the matter is, I don't know
who I am running against, but I strongly suspect it is Senator Taft,
But I most certainly am running against the unchanging and appar-
ently unchangeable attitudes of the Republican leadership. Presidents
come and go. But attitudes remain. For a political party, as a man, is
the sum total of its inheritance, environment, experience and attitudes.
Thus, for example, when the depression was coming on, the Secre-
tary of the Treasury was Andrew Mellon. What was his formula for
dealing with the depression? How did he propose to act when the
magnificent promise of American life seemed at a shabby and ignomini-
ous end? Mr. Hoover, in his recently published memoirs, tells us. It was:
"Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farms, liquidate real
That is certainly one way to deal with a depression— the graveyard
way. But somehow the American people were less than enthusiastic
about it, and they turned to the Democratic party which held out the
prospect of life and hope.
The Democratic party of today was born, then, of the sufferings of
the people. It is neither all-wise nor all-knowing, for these are not man's
gifts, but God's. But it is now— as it always has been— compassionate,
merciful, humane; no stranger to human needs and wants and fears.
The task of striking off the shackles of the South, begun by Wood-
row Wilson, has brought you to your rightful place in the Union, not
as a matter of charity, not as a sectional matter, but because a happy,
purposeful people in a strong, prosperous country is the democratic
goal. The Southern states, too, it seems to me, have played a large part
in liberating men's creative energies and reaching these goals.
Everywhere this liberation of man's powers during the Democratic
decades has brilliantly succeeded, but nowhere has its success been
more marked than in the South. Here has come the richest flowering of
a great region our nation has witnessed. A new vitality and creative
energy is apparent in every aspect of Southern culture, material, intel-
lectual and spiritual. Your colleges are crowded. There is a keen inter-
est in the arts.
Some years ago a famous American critic said that the South was
88 THE NEW SOUTH
the wasteland of the mind. Yet at that very moment, I am told, so many
of your housewives had novels simmering with the soup— among them
Gone With the Wind— that many husbands had to wait for supper.
And men— in an effort perhaps to keep up with their women, among
them your own Ellen Glasgow— were writing books and plays, too. So
it was that the Nobel prize for literature came to the Mississippian,
William Faulkner; a prize that he accepted in an exalted address, ex-
tolling the unconquerable spirit of man.
If this means much to the nation, it also, I am sure, means much to
you. Your way has often been hard. Yet you have always held that
civilization is something more than the bending of the resources of
nature to the uses of man. Man cannot live without bread, but his spirit
cannot live by bread alone.
In the course of this resurgence, I hope that it may be possible for
us to keep all that was good of the Old South, while embracing all that
is good of the New South. Technicians can make a country, but they
alone cannot create a civilization. There are riches in your inheritance
which are sometimes overlooked— riches which the rest of the nation
could borrow with great profit. I believe it was Gladstone who said that
no greater misfortune could befall a people than to break utterly with
Among the most valuable heritages of the Old South is its political
genius, which in many respects was far ahead of its time. Even today
some of the finest products of Southern governmental thought are only
beginning to win the general acceptance which they have so long
A classic example, it seems to me, is the Constitution of the Con-
federacy. Scholars of constitutional law have long recognized it as a
sound and most thoughtful document. It contained some brilliant in-
novations, including the so-called item veto— authorizing the President
to disapprove individual items in an appropriation bill without having
to veto the entire message.
This inspiration of the Confederate statesmen has since been in-
corporated into the constitutions of about three-fourths of our states,
including my own State of Illinois.
Is it too much to hope that our Federal Government may soon
adopt this priceless invention of Southern statesmanship? I hope not,
because it is a most useful tool. It has enabled me to veto more appro-
priations, involving more money, than any Governor in Illinois history.
And it is one reason why forty-six other states had higher state tax
burdens than Illinois in relation to the income of their citizens last year.
In other fields, I am glad to note, the Southern talent for govern-
ment has won the recognition which is its due. Many of your states are
among the best governed in the land. Southern diplomats have earned
wholehearted respect in Asia and Europe. In Congress Southern leaders
once again give wise and distinguished service to the nation, especially
in the all-important area of foreign affairs.
I am proud to have one of them, Senator John Sparkman of Ala-
bama, as my running mate. And I am also proud that other such leaders
—each himself a candidate for the Presidency— have given me their
support— Senator Kefauver and my distant kinsman, Richard Russell
Just as the governmental contributions of the South sometimes
were not fully appreciated in the past, so, too, I suspect, some of the
problems of the South have not been fully understood elsewhere. One
of these is the problem of minorities— a problem which I have had occa-
sion to think about a good deal, since my own state also has minority
One thing that I have learned is that minority tensions are always
strongest under conditions of hardship. During the long years of Re-
publican neglect and exploitation, many Southerners— white and Negro
—have suffered even hunger, the most degrading of man's adversities.
All the South, in one degree or another, was afflicted with a pathetic
lack of medical services, poor housing, poor schooling, and a hundred
other ills flowing from the same source of poverty.
The once low economic status of the South was productive of
another— and even more melancholy— phenomenon. Many of the la-
mentable differences between Southern whites and Negroes, ascribed
by insensitive observers to race prejudice, have arisen for other reasons.
Here economically depressed whites and economically depressed Ne-
groes often had to fight over already gnawed bones.
Then there ensued that most pathetic of struggles : the struggle of
the poor against the poor. It is a struggle that can easily become embit-
tered, for hunger has no heart. But, happily, as the economic status of
the South has risen, as the farms flourish and in the towns there are jobs
for all at good wages, racial tensions have diminished.
In the broad field of minority rights, the Democratic party has
stated its position in its platform; a position to which I adhere. I should
justly earn your contempt if I talked one way in the South and another
Certainly no intellectually dishonest presidential candidate could,
by an alchemy of election, be converted into an honest President. I shall
not go anywhere with beguiling serpent words. To paraphrase the words
of Senator John Sharp Williams of Mississippi, better to be a dog and
bay the moon.
I should like to say a word about the broader aspects of minority
First, I utterly reject the argument that we ought to grant all men
their rights just because if we do not we shall give Soviet Russia a
propaganda weapon. This concept is itself tainted with Communist
90 THE NEW SOUTH
wiliness. It insultingly implies that were it not for the Communists we
would not do what is right.
The answer to this argument is that we must do right for right's
sake alone. I, for one, do not propose to adjust my ethics to the values
of a bloodstained despotism, scornful of all that we hold dear.
Second, I reject as equally contemptible the reckless assertions that
the South is a prison in which half the people are prisoners and the
other half are wardens. I view with scorn those who hurl charges that
the South— or any group of Americans— is wedded to wrong and in-
capable of right. For this itself is an expression of prejudice compounded
with hatred; a poisonous doctrine for which, I hope, there will never be
room in our country.
So long as man remains a little lower than the angels, I suppose
that human character will never free itself entirely from the blemish
of prejudice, religious or racial. These are prejudices, unhappily, that
tend to rise wherever the minority in question is large, running here
against one group and there against another.
Some forget this, and in talking of the South, forget that in the
South the minority is high. Some forget, too, or don't know about strides
the South has made in the past decade toward equal treatment.
But I do not attempt to justify the unjustifiable, whether it is anti-
Negroism in one place, anti-Semitism in another— or for that matter,
anti-Southernism in many places. And neither can I justify self-right-
eousness anywhere. Let none of us be smug on this score, for nowhere
in the nation have we come to that state of harmonious amity between
racial and religious groups to which we aspire.
The political abuse of the problem of discrimination in employ-
ment, the exploitation of racial aspirations on the one hand and racial
prejudice on the other— all for votes— is both a dangerous thing and a
revolting spectacle in our political life. It will alwavs be better to reason
together than to hurl recriminations at one another.
Our best lesson on reason and charity was read to us by Robert
E. Lee. It was not the least of his great contributions to the spirit of
America that, when he laid down his sword, he became president of
a small college in Lexington— now the splendid college of Washington
and Lee. There he remained the rest of his life; unifying, not dividing;
loving, not hating.
As the autumn of 1865 was coming on, General Lee, in one of the
noblest of American utterances, said: "The war being at an end, the
Southern states having laid down their arms, and the questions at issue
between them and the Northern states having been decided, I believe
it to be the duty of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country
and the re-establishment of peace and harmony . . ." Then he con-
cluded: "I know of no surer way of eliciting truth than by burying con-
tention with the war."
THE NEW SOUTH 91
"We have great need of Lee's spirit in this hour of peril to our coun-
try, when voices of hatred and unreason arise again in our land. As free
men we shall always, I hope, differ upon many things. But I also hope
that we shall never be divided upon those concepts that are enshrined
in our religious faith and the charters of our country's greatness.
No one could stand here in Richmond without reverence for those
great Virginians— Washington, whose sturdy common sense was the
mortar of our foundations, and Jefferson, that universal genius who,
proclaiming the Rights of Man when few men had any rights anywhere,
shook the earth and made this feeble country the hope of the oppressed
everywhere. And so it is today after nearly two centuries.
Fortunately for us all, the Southern political genius still lives. It
flamed not long ago in Woodrow Wilson. It burns steadily today among
Southern members of Congress, and among many of the leaders of your
Good politics make good government. In this campaign I shall not
try to minimize the tasks which we confront. That we shall pass through
these troubled times I am sure, not by grace alone, but by faith, intel-
ligence and implacable determination.
In my travels about the country of late in quest of your confidence
I have felt that determination, that indomitable spirit. But nowhere
more than here where I suspect it is as strong today as it was in the
spring of 1865, when the Army of Northern Virginia returned to their
homes. They found a wasteland of burned houses and barns, fences
fallen and ditches caved in, weeds and sorrow brooding over the fields.
That was in April. But by June a cotton crop was growing. The
next year the crop was larger, and the next year it was still larger and
so, painfully and slowly, with no help except their hands and the
benison of God, the South started on its long march from desolation to
This is part of your great heritage. And if I could speak for all
Americans as I now do for myself, I would say that it also is part of the
great heritage of America.
The Atomic Future
Bushnell Memorial Hall
September 18, 1952
It is a great pleasure for me to come to Connecticut. I first came here
to school not far from Hartford many years ago as a small and shy Mid-
Western boy. I have always gratefully recalled the warmth with which
your citizens took me in, and also the patience with which my teachers
tried to educate me, here in the lovely Connecticut Valley.
More recently, since I became active in public affairs, I have found
some new satisfactions in this commonwealth. Few states have matched
Connecticut in the brilliance of the political leadership it has contrib-
uted to the nation of late. The tragic passing of your late Senator Brien
McMahon deprived the country of one of our most useful and accom-
plished public servants. Your former Governor, Chester Bowles, now
serving our people— and the free world— so wisely and imaginatively in
India, was my schoolmate here in Connecticut long ago, and my ad-
miration has not diminished with the years.
The voters of Connecticut have an opportunity this year to con-
tinue this kind of high-minded, high-principled, creative political leader-
ship. I hope that you will avail yourselves of this opportunity by send-
ing two splendid Democrats to the Senate this November— Bill Benton
and Abe Ribicoff . I expect to be there in Washington and I have no illu-
sions about what awaits me there. I'll need them— both of them— and
so will the people of Connecticut.
Bill Benton, who, I am proud to say, has been my friend of many
years, has been one of our great fighters for freedom. He has fought
hard for democracy abroad and at home. I know what he did as Assist-
ant Secretary of State to create and build up our means of communicat-
ing America to the captive millions abroad and to sow seeds of reason
and understanding throughout the world. I know because I worked in
related fields here and abroad at the same time. He knows where the
front lines in the fight against communism are; and he has labored
day and night to support and strengthen the brave men and women
manning those front lines.
And he has fought just as hard for democracy here at home. He has
THE ATOMIC FUTURE 93
been a leader in the struggle for equal rights and opportunities for all
our citizens. No Senator has surpassed him in the boldness of his defense
of the simple decencies in our public life, nor in the struggle for free-
dom from coarse, unprincipled calumny. Besides he is a man who would
rather be right than be Senator— who is going back to the Senate be-
cause he is right— Bill Benton.
You have to live with your conscience in this life. It must be pretty
uncomfortable for a lot of people who shrink from the tests of public
life. But I don't think Bill Benton has been losing any sleep.
I give you another example of independence and courage. Some
months ago your Congressman Ribicoff dumfounded the House of
Representatives in Washington by voting against a pork-barrel project
for his own district. Abe Ribicoff told his constituents the truth— that
this project was not needed badly enough to justify the cost. His Con-
gressional colleagues, I am informed, began to speak of him in the past
tense. "Too bad about Abe," they said. "He was so young and promising.
He should not have committed political suicide." But he still seems to
be among us today— a candidate for the Senate, qualified by probity in
domestic policy and wise judgment in foreign policy.
It would be pleasant in any case to appear here with these men. It
is the pleasanter now because, unlike another seeker after high office,
I do not have to swallow any principles when I express my respect for
them. Bill Benton and Abe Ribicoff are, of course, good Democrats, but
more than that, they are good Americans.
I don't have to get out a political slide rule and calculate whether
supporting Bill Benton or disowning him would be least disastrous for
the national ticket. I don't have to go to the dictionary and search for a
word that says I'm both for him and against him. Nor do I have to ask
you to put on a gas mask and go into the polling booth to vote for him
because someone has told me our party needs control of the Senate.
What kind of control do you get anyway from men who oppose every-
thing you stand for?
In recent weeks my distinguished opponent has adopted the singu-
lar theory that a candidate for President should support all state and
local candidates on his party ticket— good, bad, indifferent— and regard-
less of their views and records.
I believe this is a new theory , even in the Republican party. It was not
too long ago when Governor Dewey, as party leader, honorably refused
to support a Republican Congressman who had distinguished himself
by incessant and noisy opposition to vital national policies. But the Gen-
eral's theory is not only novel, it is dangerous. If the voters of this nation
ever stop looking at the record and the character of candidates, and look
only at their party label, it will be a sorry day for healthy democracy.
It is hard enough that the General has felt it necessary to support
and ally himself with the many Republican Senators and Congressmen
who have bitterly opposed the Marshall Plan, military aid to our allies
and other constructive foreign-policy measures— with some of which
the General himself was only recently identified. But the episode at
Indianapolis must have been even more painful, for the pursuit of
power at any price is distasteful to any honorable man.
Like the crossed palm, the tarnished mind and the troubled heart
are threats to democracy, too. Win or lose, I will not accept the proposi-
tion that party regularity is more important than political ethics. Vic-
tory can be bought too dearly.
But this exhibition of Republican expediency is not what I wanted
to talk to you about. I wanted to talk here tonight about something
which transcends politics— atomic energy, which is the new dimension
in all our thinking— and also about the relation of power to peace.
I was moved to select this topic because atomic energy is a major
component of our power and because our decisions and actions in
atomic-energy matters, as they relate to preparedness for both war and
peace, will long bear the imprint of our wise and lamented friend, Brien
McMahon of Connecticut.
Brien McMahon was among the first to see the great potentialities
for good and evil which were opened up by this advance of the fron-
tiers of knowledge. He sought to educate himself in, and to give inde-
pendent thought to, the problems it presented. He sought to reconcile
the needs for security with the needs for information— both to encourage
further scientific advances and an intelligent public opinion. He saw the
need for civilian control. He fought to keep the sights of the develop-
ment program high.
We have already, for example, opened up new fields of medical
research. Brien McMahon died of cancer. With luck and the help of
atomic research, our children may be safe from this grim disease.
We have already produced, with an atomic reactor, the steam to
generate electric power. We are building now— and in a Connecticut
shipyard— an atomic-powered submarine. We can begin to dream of
electric stations, ships, airplanes and machinery to be powered by the
atom. Men are at work today with atomic tools trying to find out how
plants convert energy from the sun into food. It is not too fantastic to
think that we may, in time, unlock new doors to boundless energy for
our homes and industries.
This is a field in which government and industry can work in ever
more fruitful partnership. The people of this country have invested
more than six billion dollars in atomic development. This work must be
for the good of all, and not just for the profits of some. But more can be
done to work out new relationships in this field between government
and business— relationships which will safeguard the public interest and
yet allow full room for private initiative.
This is the excitement of the future which awaits us. The age of
atomic abundance is still far off. And we will never be able to release
the power of the atom to build unless we are able to restrain its power
to destroy. This is the merciless question of the present— the question of
what we should do with atomic power in a divided world.
Here again we face a bitter decision. We shrink from the use of
such weapons— weapons which destroy the guilty and innocent alike,
like a terrible sword from Heaven. But can we renounce the power
which science has given us when renunciation might expose our peo-
ple to destruction?
We cannot. And in the decision to move ahead Brien McMahon
again played a leading role. He demanded that we constantly step up
our reserves of atomic weapons. He worked always to keep the sights
of the atomic-energy program high and its policies bold— and the
United States has made a notable contribution to the security of the
free world by its rapid development of atomic power.
Winston Churchill said that Western Europe would probably have
been overrun by now if we had not had atomic weapons. Yet there has
always seemed to me a danger in making the atomic bomb the center
of our defense strategy. The bomb is but one part of a general system
of defense. It cannot be a substitute for such a general system. It can-
not be our only answer to aggression. Until it is subjected to safe inter-
national control, we have no choice but to insure our atomic superiority.
But there can be no solution in an arms race. At the end of this
road lies bankruptcy or world catastrophe. Already the earth is haunted
by premonitions in this shadowed atomic age. Mankind must deserve
some better destiny than this.
Because our government knew the futility of the arms race, it made
its great decision to seek an international system for the control of
atomic power. We went to the United Nations and offered to share with
other nations the good in atomic energy. In return, we asked that other
nations join with us to curb its power for evil.
I think this decision was right— profoundly right. Few things we
have done since 1945 have so clearly demonstrated our national deter-
mination to achieve peace and to strengthen international order. By
this offer, all nations were asked to diminish their own sovereignty in
the interests of world security— just as each of us gives up some degree
of personal independence when communities establish laws and set up
police forces to see that they are carried out.
Unfortunately, as we all know, the Soviet Union has thus far re-
fused to join in a workable system. The reason is obvious. To be effec-
tive, such a system would require effective United Nations inspection;
and the Kremlin fears to open up the windows and doors of its giant
prison. It fears to have the rest of the world learn the truth about the
Soviet Union. It fears even more to have the Russian peoples learn the
truth about the rest of the world.
96 THE ATOMIC FUTURE
And so the negotiations have long been deadlocked. And, in irrita-
tion and disgust, some of us have rebelled against the whole idea of
negotiation itself. Some of us have even felt that our possession of the
bomb makes negotiation unnecessary; and, if our allies are alarmed by
our uncompromising attitude, so much the worse for them. When we
have the bomb as our ally, some of us may say: we need no other.
Such ideas are folly. If we started throwing our atomic weight
around the world, no stockpile of bombs could remotely make up for
all the friends we would lose. And the irony is that it is our allies who
make our atomic strength effective. We built the bomb with the help
and co-operation of foreign scientists. Our atomic-production program
today depends on foreign supplies of uranium. Our air power would be
gravely crippled without foreign bases. Even in terms of the bomb itself,
going it alone would simply be a shortcut to national disaster.
A year ago some Republican leaders contended that the best way
to stop that war in Korea would be to extend it to the mainland of
China. In the same vein, Republican leaders today seem to be arguing
that the best way to deal with Soviet power in Europe is to instigate
civil war in the satellite countries. These are dangerous, reckless, fool-
ish counsels and likely to lead to the sacrifice of the very people whom
we hope to liberate. And I am glad to see that the General has evi-
dently reconsidered these proposals.
And likewise the Democratic party opposes that weird Republican
policy which proposes to reduce our contributions to free-world
strength, on the one hand, while it steps up its verbal threats against the
enemy, on the other. Theodore Roosevelt used to say: "Speak softly and
carry a big stick." But these modern Republicans seem to prefer to
throw away the stick and scream imprecations.
The Democratic party will never desist in the search for peace. We
must never close our minds or freeze our positions. We must strive con-
stantly to break the deadlock in our atomic discussions. But we can
never yield on the objective of securing a fool-proof system of inter-
national inspection and control. And we will never confuse negotiation
In the long run, the strength of free nations resides as much in this
willingness to reduce their military power and subject it to international
control as in the size of their military establishments. This desire and
willingness of the free nations to give up their preponderant power and
to abandon force as an instrument of national policy in the interests of
peace is not only unprecedented— it provides the moral justification for
the amassing of great power. And we must never delude ourselves into
thinking that physical power is a substitute for moral power which is the
true sign of national greatness.
I hold out no foolish hopes. We all know the character of the men
in the Kremlin— their fanaticism, their ruthlessness, their limitless ambi-
THE ATOMIC FUTURE 97
tions. But we know too that their realism has restrained them thus far
from provoking a general war which they would surely lose. And they
know that they can have peace and freedom from fear whenever they
want it and are prepared to honor their war-time pledges and the
obligations assumed when they signed the United Nations charter. We
may hope that the steady strengthening of the free world will increase
their sense of the futility of aggression; that the intensification of peace-
ful pressures against the Soviet empire will sharpen the internal con-
tradictions within that empire; that, in time, free peoples may lift their
heads again in Eastern Europe, and new policies and leadership emerge
within the Soviet Union itself.
No one can be certain about the meaning of peace. But we all can
be certain about the meaning of war. The future is still open— open for
disaster, if we seek peace cheaply or meanly, but open for real peace, if
we seek it bravely and nobly.
In any case, let us not cower with fear before this new instrument
of power. Nature is neutral. Man has wrested from nature the power
to make the world a desert or to make the deserts bloom. There is no
evil in the atom; only in men's souls. We have dealt with evil men be-
fore, and so have our fathers before us, from the beginning of time. The
way to deal with evil men has never varied; stand up for the right, and,
if needs must be, fight for the right.
To my Republican listeners I would say: the atomic adventure
transcends partisan issues. Win or lose, we Democrats will work with
you to follow this adventure to the end of peace and plenty for man-
To my fellow Democrats I would close by repeating what Brien
McMahon said in his last public appearance. He said the "way to worry
about November is to worry about what is right. If we do not stand for
the right, 10,000 campaign speeches will never help us. If we do stand
for the right, we will again be asked to lead our country."
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
September 12, 1952
We would err if we regard communism as merely an external threat.
Communism is a great international conspiracy. The United States has
been for years a major target of that conspiracy.
Communist agents have sought to steal our scientific and military
secrets, to mislead and corrupt our young men and women, to infiltrate
positions of power in business firms and labor unions and in the Govern-
ment itself. At every turn they have sought to serve the purpose of the
In the pursuit of their objective, the Communists have been in-
genious, disciplined, obedient and ruthless. Along the way they have
gained the help, wittingly or unwittingly, of many Americans. The
Communist conspiracy within the United States deserves the attention
of every American citizen and the sleepless concern of the responsible
agencies of Government.
I feel that there still are people in this country under illusions
about the nature of the Communist conspiracy abroad and at home.
There aren't many American Communists— far fewer than in the days
of the great depression— and they aren't, on the whole, very important.
But they exist; and we should not forget their existence. Some, per-
haps, are obstinate and hopeless in their faith. Others, perhaps, can be
won back to an understanding of the democratic way of life.
Communism is committed to the destruction of every value which
the genuine American liberal holds most dear. So I would say to any
Americans who cling to illusions about communism and its fake Utopia:
wake up to the fact that you are in an allegiance with the devil and
you must act soon if you hope to save your soul.
And to those who in the service of the Soviet Union would commit
acts prejudicial to the safety and security of the United States, I would
say: under me as President of the United States Federal agencies will
deal sternly and mercilessly with all who would betray their country
and their freedom for the sake of manacles and chains.
There is only one way for a free society to deal with this internal
threat, and that is through the processes of justice. We have tightened
ON COMMUNISM 99
up our espionage and security legislation. We have instituted a Federal
loyalty system— and we did so, I should add, in 1947— three long years
before the Senator from Wisconsin made his shrill discovery of the
We have prosecuted the Communist leadership. Where the law has
been violated the Justice Department has indicted and convicted the
criminals. In all this effort we have had the faithful and resourceful
work and national protection of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
I do not believe that anv agency of government is infallible and I think
that of all agencies a bureau of detection should get the most strict and
unrelenting public scrutiny.
But, so far as I can see, the F.B.I, is doing and has done an excel-
lent investigation job. To tell you— or to imply— as some do for political
reasons— that the Government is crawling with Communists today is to
say that the F.B.I, does not know its business.
We can never relax our vigilance at home and abroad. When I say
this, of course, I do not intend to approve all the excesses and errors
committed in the name of anti-communism. Unfortunately there are
among us men whose hope it is to profit from anxiety, hysteria and fear
—to confuse, to blind, to obscure the issue for the American people.
These salesmen of confusion are at work in the field of foreign
policy, and they are at work on domestic issues. In the field of foreign
policy they tell people that our greatest patriots, men like General
Marshall, are traitors. They tell people, even while our soldiers are fight-
ing Communist aggression in Korea, that our foreign policy is one of
Men who participate in carrying out our foreign policy, men who
served this nation as diplomats abroad, are now trying to tell the people
that the United States treacherously "gave away" Poland, or "gave
away" China to the Communists.
If there were mistakes, let us discuss them. But let us never con-
fuse honest mistakes, mistakes of judgment, with the insidious designs
of traitors. Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those
who steal from the public purse.
Let me say, too, that it is a shabby thing for a man now to cry
treacherv who only a few years ago said that the only difference be-
tween Chinese Communists and Oklahoma Republicans is that the lat-
ter did not carry guns.
So far as I can see, many of the people most vocal in pursuing
communism with words at home are the same people most silent when
it comes to supporting the fight in the front lines against communism
abroad. We must recognize that the fight against communism in our
own countrv achieves its purposes only to the extent that it strengthens
—and does not weaken— our democracy.
But the excesses of those who exploit anti-communism do not alter
100 ON COMMUNISM
the fact that our nation can never for one moment relax its guard. We
must take care not to harm innocent people. We must remember that
liberals are not Communists and that Socialists are not Communists, and
that radicals in the American tradition are not Communists.
But, where true Communists are concerned— men bound to the
service and defense of the Stalinist tyranny— we must root them out and
expect them to bear the consequences of their treachery to all America
The One- Party Press
September 8, 1952
It is very pleasant to consider today that I have a group of editors and
publishers temporarily at my mercy. I know it won't last long. But, since
the press— some of it— keeps describing me as a captive candidate, I par-
ticularly enjoy the opportunity of speaking to a captive audience.
In addition, I have had a strange feeling these past weeks that
people are following me. They all seem to be friendly, inquisitive and
fumpled; they wear hats and keep writing things down on pieces of
paper. I cannot drink a milk shake or put on a pair of shoes without their
friendly but implacable surveillance.
Given this relentless observation, I find it an agreeable change to
stand here and look straight back at such a distinguished group of what
I believe are called "opinion molders."
If ignorance, apathy and excessive partisanship are still the greatest
enemies of democracy— as I believe Bryce said some forty or fifty years
ago— then of course it is up to a free press to help us on all three counts
and all the time. Otherwise neither democratic government nor a free
press can be sure of permanency.
In short, government— our brand of representative government-
depends on you, and, something which I think your profession some-
times overlooks, you depend on government, for the ultimate protection
of a free press resides in the constitutional guarantee.
That is why the rock-bottom foundation of a free press is the in-
tegrity of the people who run it. Our press may make a million mistakes
of judgment without doing itself permanent harm so long as its pro-
prietors are steadfast in their adherence to truth. I have no doubt what-
ever that the bulk of owners and publishers and editors are doing an
honest job with the news.
I ought to know, because I am straining the impartiality of the
press to the limit these days. Yet, as a candidate in a hard-fought cam-
paign, I have been well impressed by the fair treatment accorded me by
most newspapers, including most of those aligned editorially with the
opposition. I am convinced that nearly all publishers are doing their
honest best, according to their lights— even if I must confess that some-
times their lights seem to me a little dim.
102 THE ONE-PARTY PRESS
I am glad to pay this tribute to the press. It is true, and I think it
should be said. I am grateful for the impartiality and fullness of your
Yet I am not recommending complacency, and, from my vantage
point, certain defects are apparent. If I were still an editorial writer I
suppose I would say that there are some ominous tendencies, or even
that these tendencies could weaken the fabric of the Republic.
In my new role in life, I can't help noticing from time to time— I
want to put it as delicately as I can— that the overwhelming majority of
the newspapers of the country are supporting the opposition candidate.
This is something, I find, that even my best friends will tell me! And I
certainly don't take it personally.
In fact, I would have been somewhat startled and unhappy if I
received much press support after the reception given my Democratic
predecessors, Mr. Truman and Mr. Roosevelt. Some people might even
have considered such support an ill omen.
It would seem that the overwhelming majority of the press is just
against Democrats. And it is against Democrats, so far as I can see, not
after a sober and considered review of the alternatives, but auto-
matically, as dogs are against cats.
As soon as a newspaper— I speak of the great majority, not of the
enlightened 10 per cent!— sees a Democratic candidate it is filled with
an unconquerable yen to chase him up an alley.
I still haven't got over the way some of our nation's great papers
rushed to commit themselves to a candidate last spring, long before
they knew what that candidate stood for, or what his party platform
would be, or who his opponent was, or what would be the issues of the
I know where a young publisher's fancy turns in that season of
the year, and I don't blame them for a moment. But I feel that some of
them may yet regret the impetuosity of their wooing now that autumn
I am touched when in these papers solicitous editorials appear
about the survival of the two-party system. Now I really can't bring my-
self to believe that the Republican party is about to fade away, even if
it loses in 1952. If so, it is staging one of the longest and loudest death-
bed scenes in history!
How can the Republican party disappear when about 90 per cent
of the press for ten or fifteen years has been telling the American people
day in and day out that the Republican party alone can save the Repub-
lic? Surely Republican publishers and editors don't honestly believe
that they have so little influence!
I am in favor of a two-party system in politics. And I think we have
a pretty healthy two-party system at this moment. But I am in favor
of a two-party system in our press too. And I am, frankly, considerably
THE ONE-PARTY PRESS 103
concerned when I see the extent to which we are developing a one-party
press in a two-party country. I don't say this because of any concern
over the coming election. My party has done all right in recent elections
in spite of the country's editorial pages, and I have a hunch we will do
all right this year too.
But, as an ex-newspaper man and as a citizen, I am gravely con-
cerned about the implications of this one-party system for our American
press and our free society.
A free society means a society based on free competition and there
is no more important competition than competition in ideas, competi-
tion in opinion. This form of competition is essential to the preservation
of a free press. Indeed, I think the press should set an example to the
nation in increasing opposition to uniformity.
I think you will agree that we cannot risk complacency. We need
to be rededicated every day to the unfinished task of keeping our free
press truly free. We need to work harder for the time when all editors
will honor their profession, when all publishers will have a sense of
responsibility equal to their power and thus regain their power, if I may
put it that way.
It's not honest convictions honestly stated that concern me. Rather
it is the tendency of many papers, and I include columnists, commen-
tators, analysts, feature writers and so on, to argue editorially from the
personal objective, rather than from the whole truth.
As the old jury lawyer said: "And these, gentlemen, are the conclu-
sions on which I base my facts."
In short, it seems to me that facts, truth, should be just as sacred
in the editorial column as the news column. And, as I have said, happily
most papers, but by no means all, do struggle with sincerity for accu-
racy in the news. Coming from Chicago, of course, I am not unfamiliar
with the phenomenon of an editorial in every news column!
What I am saying, in short, is that the press cannot condemn
demagoguery, claptrap, distortion and falsehoods in politicians and
public life on the one hand and practice the same abuses on the public
themselves, on the other. I know the people are smarter than many
politicians think and sometimes I suspect that even editors underesti-
Let's not forget that the free press is the mother of all our liberties
and of our progress under liberty.
Having delivered myself of this, let me say a few words about the
campaign. It is going to be a tough campaign, and I am not kidding my-
self about the difficulties. My opponent is a great general who has
served the Army and the nation well. He has behind him a vigorous and
active party— a good deal of whose vigor and activity is devoted to the
continual scrimmage between the rival Republican teams.
Indeed, I wait breathlessly for each morning's newspaper to see
104 THE ONE-PARTY PRESS
which Republican party is on top that day. Nonetheless, I would be the
last to underestimate the effectiveness or the determination of the pro-
fessional Republican organization.
But I think we have certain advantages too. One of them is that
we are a relatively united party— not just in organization, but, and this
may be more important, on our major problems. I do not think the people
will install a party which does not seem capable of governing. And I do
not see how anyone can really argue that this fretful, distracted and
divided Republican party has that capacity. If it cannot govern itself,
why should we suppose that it could govern the country?
Another way of saying the same thing is that the Democratic party
has policies. It has a foreign policy, and it has a domestic policy. Some
Republicans like our policies; most Republicans hate our policies; but
none of them seems to have any very distinctive policies of their own to
We have policies, I think, because we have ideas. I know, of course,
that the Democrats aren't supposed to have any ideas. We are supposed
to be stable and weary and lacking new ideas— except on the occasions
when we are supposed to be so vital and energetic and overflowing with
new ideas as to constitute a danger to the Republic— or, at least, to the
As for myself, I continue to regard the Democratic party as the
party of constructive change in this country. It is always time for con-
structive change, and that is what we will continue to offer the Ameri-
In short, I know it will be a hard fight. I hope it will be a clean
one. We have had a lot of ground to make up. We have made up some.
I figure that we still have a little distance to go. But I figure too that we
are gaining steadily. As for more detailed predictions, I think I will
leave that to you gentlemen!
Of course, the campaign itself bulks large in our eyes today. I
would like to conclude with the warning that we must not let it obscure
the outlines of the world crisis in which we are involved. This genera-
tion has been summoned to a great battle— the battle to determine
whether we are equal to the task of world leadership. I will say to you
that I am deeply persuaded that the press can be our shield and our
spear in this battle.
We must look largely to the press for the enlightenment that will
arm us for this conflict. We should be able to look to the press for much
of the sober certainty that will carry us to victory and peace.
Our Government and our arms and our wealth will avail us little
if the editors do not accept this invitation to greatness. The agents of
confusion and fear must not usurp the seats of the custodians of truth
In saying this, I want to emphasize my belief that the leadership
THE ONE-PARTY PRESS 105
for this development of a free press must come entirely from the pro-
Government has its co-operative part to play. It must do everything
possible to oppose censorship and to free the channels of communica-
tion. Beyond that point, it cannot safely go.
The basic job can be done only within and by the free press itself,
by you gentlemen. I know you can do it superbly. We have solemn
reason to pray it will be done that way.
September 12, 1952
We are now nearing the end of our first campaign swing through the
West. It has been a fine trip; I haven't had a better time in years.
F. D. R. used to say: "I'm an old campaigner and I love a good fight."
I'm not an old campaigner yet. But I must say that I have enjoyed
every minute so far.
My ideas about campaigning are simple and primitive. It seems
to me that the American people want to hear about the issues, and
that it is the business of the candidates to talk plainly about these
issues. As I said in Los Angeles yesterday, I don't think that issues
are beneath the dignity of political candidates nor above the intelli-
gence of American voters.
What I had hoped to do was to raise a little debate between
the two parties on some of the solemn questions of our national life.
Thus far I can't say that I've had much success.
So far as I can see, it is like trying to hold a conversation with
a two-headed elephant. One head agrees with everything I say and
the other fumes and curses at everything I say. The best debate of
all, of course, would be between those two elephant heads.
I have certain sympathies with my distinguished opponent. It
must be hard to try to talk sense on issues when half your advisers
tell you one thing and the other half tell you exactly the opposite.
As a result of this, the Republican leadership has evidently decided
that the only thing to do is to talk slogans, catchwords and epithets.
I think a campaign for the Presidency is worth something better,
but it begins to look as though the Republican leaders had decided
to file notice of intellectual bankruptcy, accompanied by a deluge
of abuse to their creditors— the people's intelligence.
In fact, their whole campaign so far reminds me of a phono-
graph record that monotonously repeats "I love you, I love you, I
love you"— and adds "honey chile" and a rebel yell when the caravan
moves South. When you turn the record over, it offers a catchy little
number in waltz time, "A Change Is a Change Is a Change."
I left Springfield exactly a week ago on this trip. We have cov-
CAMPAIGN ISSUES 107
ered a lot of ground in seven short days. We went first to Denver,
Colorado. You all know the Denver story. It used to be the campaign
headquarters of the Republican candidate for President.
I really don't know why the Republicans abandoned Denver.
Maybe the high altitudes were too much for weak hearts. Or maybe
the closeness of Denver to the Great Divide was just too uncom-
fortable for a divided party. Or maybe the Republican leadership
just didn't like the West!
In any case, by the time I got to Denver, the General and his
entourage had decided that it was time for a change— and had for-
saken Colorado for New York City.
From Denver we went back to Kasson, Minnesota, for a plowing
contest. Or it started out as a plowing contest. After my distinguished
opponent had given his speech, I began to wonder whether he didn't
think it was a plowing-under contest. At least he spent most of his
time plowing under the farm platform of the Republican party.
For my part, I didn't have to plow under the Democratic farm
platform; I could stand on it. In fact, I am perfectly willing to have
the General try and stand on it too— though I wish he would be a
bit more careful to request the permission of the copyright owners.
Someone asked me the other day what I thought the main dif-
ference between the Republican and Democratic platforms was. The
answer is easy. The difference is this:
The Republican presidential candidate always tries to run on the
Democratic platform. But you will never, never find a Democratic
presidential candidate trying to run on the Republican platform.
Well, the General and I had our little set-to in Minnesota. I had
hoped that we might have a debate upon farm policy. But the best
debate, as usual, was between the Republican parties. One of the
Republican parties opposes fixed parity prices at 90 per cent. That
party wrote the platform in Chicago. Another of the Republican
parties supports fixed parity prices. That party wrote the General's
But when the General proposed that we should go up to 100 per
cent, I think he may have misunderstood his audience. The farmers
of America have too vivid a memory of the Republicans in the House
voting against the 90 per cent support law last spring to be im-
pressed by big talk about 100 per cent today.
Moreover, I doubt whether they liked the idea of the Republi-
can leadership treating the farm question like an auction, in which
the farmers' votes would be sold to the highest bidder. Maybe the
Republican leadership would get a little further if it began to treat
the farmers like self-respecting Americans.
From Minnesota we went on to Wyoming and Idaho and Mon-
tana; and from there to Oregon and Washington. If you don't like
108 CAMPAIGN ISSUES
to travel you shouldn't go into politics. But I do like to travel, espe-
cially around this lovely and fertile land of ours.
We have a great national heritage in our land, our forests and
our rivers. You get an exciting sense of the richness and variety of
this heritage when you travel through the Northwest.
And you get an urgent sense of the vital importance of develop-
ing this heritage in the interests of all the people of the country—
and not permitting it to be a private reserve by which special groups
can make profits for themselves at the expense of the common interest.
You here in Arizona well know the importance of our Federal
policies of conservation and reclamation. I have been told that the
very first major reclamation project in the whole country was here
in this state. I was especially interested to learn that the original
pattern of co-operative membership by farmers in an irrigation dis-
trict was worked out over at the Salt River project.
Irrigation and reclamation laws nourished your state. Since 1940,
farm income in Arizona has increased 386 per cent. And your total in-
come rose, or rather leaped, 23 per cent from 1950 to 1951— more than
any other state. Your extraordinary yields of long-staple cotton, and of
melons, grapes, alfalfa and other crops contribute to the well-being
of all of us. We in Illinois are better off because you are better off.
There is another aspect of the conservation problem which was
borne in on me, both in the Northwest and down here. That is the
problem of controlling erosion and of preventing silt from choking
irrigation works and reservoirs.
One of the key points in this fight against erosion is overgrazing.
I have stated already that I think the public ranges should be used
wisely for grazing on a fair and equitable basis. But I am unalter-
ably opposed to turning over control of those lands to private interests.
They are public property, and they must be managed in the public
So far as anyone can penetrate the foggy language of the Repub-
lican platform, the Republican leadership is interested in giving these
national resources away.
"We favor," the Republican platform says, "restoration of the
traditional Republican land policy"— and we all know what the tra-
ditional Republican land policy is. I welcome battle on this issue.
I am for conserving public wealth— the common property of the peo-
ple—just as I am for conserving tax dollars.
I hope that some day my distinguished opponent will come to
see that both these questions involve the property of all the people.
He is appalled— as I am— at those public servants who have given
away tax favors, but he is apparently willing enough to give away the
land, oil and other property of the people.
In this fight for the conservation of the public domain, I take
CAMPAIGN ISSUES 109
great comfort from the support of Senators Carl Hayden and Ernest
VV. McFarland [Democrats of Arizona]. They are staunch allies in a
I talked on these matters in Seattle and Portland, because little
is more important to American survival than planning in time to
assure the conservation and wise development of our natural re-
From Seattle, I flew down the shining Pacific Coast to San Fran-
cisco. There, where the great Golden Gate looks toward the East, I
spoke about foreign policy. I said that the question of peace was the
great unfinished business of our generation. I said that our genera-
tion can meet that challenge— if we understand the enormity of the
I believe peace is possible, if we but have the will, the boldness
and the patience to conquer it. I believe that we have. I believe this
is a time for greatness, and that our nation is capable of greatness.
Then I had a wonderful day whistle-stopping through the Cen-
tral Valley of California. And yesterday I spoke twice in Los Angeles.
First I had some things to say about corruption.
I said that the people were getting tired of the indiscriminate
abuse of our public servants. There have been thieves and scoun-
drels, men who have betrayed their trust. I say that such men must
be identified and punished without mercy. And a good many of
them have been detected and exposed— by Democrats.
Among the exposers, I need only mention such names as Estes
Kefauver, Paul Douglas, Bill Fulbright, Stuart Symington, Cecil King,
Frank Chelf and many others.
In fact, I took Steve Mitchell, who as counsel for the Chelf Com-
mittee has been conducting such a brilliant investigation of the
Department of Justice, and nominated him for Chairman of the
Democratic National Committee.
In the evening at Los Angeles I talked about the fact that some-
times we get so mired down in the problems of today that we forget
about the possibilities of tomorrow.
I have talked a lot of blood, sweat and tears during this cam-
paign; and I propose to continue talking it, because I do not believe
that this is a safe or simple world. But I think too that we must
never forget that we are on the edge of a new scientific and techno-
logical age— an age which promises fabulous abundance for a people
worthy of it.
We Democrats are not afraid of the challenge of tomorrow. We
are the party of faith— faith in America, faith in democracy, faith in
freedom. We will let the Republicans continue to deal in moans,
groans and lamentations— to say that the American way of life is weak,
fragile and on the verge of extinction. They are the party of fear. And
110 CAMPAIGN ISSUES
this contest between faith and fear will decide the future of our
While I have been moving around, I notice that my distinguished
opponent has been active too. The other night in Indianapolis the
General gave a chalk talk on team play in basketball and politics. In
the course of his talk he made the following admission: "The over-
whelming majority of Federal employees (he said) are among our
most patriotic and efficient citizens."
Now I believe this. In fact I know it— and I think that most peo-
ple in this country know it, too. We are highly gratified to have the
Republican candidate say it in public.
But some Americans do not believe it. And some of the most
conspicuous of those who spend day and night attacking the integrity
of our public service are on the General's team. In fact, after last
Tuesday some of them seem to have been promoted to his first team.
One player to whom the General gave his Republican letter— his
varsity "R"— last Tuesday is Senator William E. Jenner of Indiana.
And, according to Senator Jenner, the list of unpatriotic Federal em-
ployees is not only practically endless, but it is headed by the revered
name of General George Marshall, our war-time commander and Gen-
eral Eisenhower's superior officer.
General Marshall, Senator Jenner said on the sheltered floor of
the United States Senate, was a "living He" and not only willing but
eager "to play the role of front man for traitors."
Now I know something about basketball, too, and I know that
you are not likely to get a good team unless the coach and the players
are in agreement; and I am dead sure that this is true of team play
in government because I've been Governor of one of the biggest
states in the Union.
The only conclusion I can draw, therefore, is either that the Gen-
eral agrees with Senator Jenner— and this I still doubt— or that the
Republican team isn't going to win many games this next few weeks.
And this is the first time I have ever heard a party go into battle
under the slogan: "Throw the rascals in."
What it all gets back to, of course, is the simple and undisputable
fact that there is no longer one Republican party. There are two Re-
It is an ancient political vehicle, held together by soft soap and
hunger for government jobs, with front-seat drivers and back-seat
drivers contradicting each other in a bedlam of voices shouting at
the driver to "go right" and "go left" at the same time. I don't envy
the driver, and I don't think the American people will want to rid6
on his bus.
In recent weeks the junior Republican party seems about to be
swallowed up by its big, bad older brother. I no longer hear the voices
CAMPAIGN ISSUES 111
which sang with such sweet reasonableness for the General before
the Chicago massacre. Someone seems to have muzzled them. Maybe
they sounded too much like Democrats.
And now we have the spectacle of the candidate who won the
nomination seeking out his defeated rival and begging for a kind
word. I'm beginning to wonder who won at Chicago, anyway, and
who my opponent really is. Maybe the Republicans now have a six-
I think this is an appropriate subject to discuss in Phoenix. It
occurred to me, while I was flying in this morning, that the clue to
the future of the Republican party may well lie in the fabled phoenix,
after which your city was named.
The phoenix, as you all know, set fire to herself after a 500-year
decline and then rose revitalized from her own ashes. Our opponents
may be older than they think. They are aging, tired and querulous.
I recommend that they build a fire under themselves— and move into
this, the Twentieth Century. We would be glad to welcome them here.
We Democrats like this century, belong to it and propose to
realize its possibilities to the full. To assure the continuation of prog-
ress in the United States, to move toward greater freedom and greater
opportunity for our citizens, to fight for peace in the world, there is
one broad and proven path— the Democratic party.
September 27, 1952
I want to talk to you tonight about the war in Korea.
When I entered this campaign, I expressed my hope that Demo-
crats and Republicans alike would regard this election year as a great
opportunity to educate and elevate a people whose destiny is leader-
ship. I hoped that both parties would talk sense to the American
But I have been increasingly disturbed about the tone and spirit
of the campaign. I know— from your letters and from conversations
with many of you around the country— that you find this disturbing,
too. The opposition is not talking sense to the American people— it is
laying down a barrage of ugly, twisted, demagogic distortion.
Last Monday night the General spoke in Cincinnati about Korea.
He said that this was a solemn subject and that he was going to state
the truth as he knew it, "the truth— plain and unvarnished."
If only his speech had measured up to this introduction! And
since he has tried, not once but several times, to make a vote-getting
issue out of our ordeal, I shall speak on this subject and address my-
self to the record.
My opponent has made most serious charges as to why we are
at war in Korea. The burden of this charge is "bungling"— a favorite
epithet of those who neither tell us what they would have done in
the past nor what they will do in the future.
We are fighting in Korea, he declares, because the American
Government grossly underestimated the Soviet threat; because the
Government allowed America to become weak; because American
weakness compelled us to withdraw our forces from Korea; because
we abandoned China to the Communists; and, finally, because we
announced to all the world that we had written off most of the Far
Let's take a look at this campaign-year indictment and check it
against the record.
First, the General accuses the Government of having underesti-
mated the Soviet threat. But what about the General himself? At the
end of the war he was a professional soldier of great influence and
prestige, to whom the American people listened with respect. What
did he have to say about the Soviet threat?
In the years after the war, the General himself saw "no reason"
—as he later wrote— why the Russian system of government and West-
ern democracy "could not live side by side in the world." In Novem-
ber, 1945, he even told the House Military Affairs Committee: "Noth-
ing guides Russian policy so much as a desire for friendship with the
I have no wish to blow any trumpets here. But in 1945, after
conducting an economic survey of Italy for our Government, I warned
that the obvious Russian interest in the Balkans and in the Eastern
Mediterranean posed an eventual threat to Italy.
And in March, 1946, I said:
"We must forsake any hope that the Soviet Union is going to lie
still and lick her awful wound. She's not. Peace treaties that reflect
her legitimate demands, friendly governments on her frontiers and
an effective United Nations organization should be sufficient security.
But evidently they are not and she intends to advance her aims, many
of them objectives of the Czars, to the utmost."
My opponent's next point is the question of demobilization. We
know how self-righteous the Republicans are on this question today.
But what were they saying at the time? In the 1944 campaign the
Republican candidate of that year accused President Roosevelt of
deliberately delaying demobilization and promised that the Repub-
licans would do it quicker.
I believe he said that "Our members of the armed forces should
be transported home and released at the earliest practical moment
after victory." Although the General warned against too rapid de-
mobilization, he later said— in September, 1946— that: "Frankly, I
don't think demobilization was too fast."
Demobilization did go too far and too fast. But it would have
gone farther and faster if the Republicans had been in power— and it
is nonsense to pretend otherwise.
Next, take the question of the withdrawal of American forces
from Korea. The General acts as if this were the result of some secret
White House decision. I would call his attention to the fact that while
he was Chief of Staff of the United States Army, the Chiefs of Staff
advised that South Korea was of little strategic interest to the United
States, and recommended withdrawal of the United States forces
from the country.
Next, my distinguished opponent has recently begun to parrot
the charge of the Republican irresponsibles that the Administration
abandoned China to the Communists. He did not talk this way once,
but then he has changed in a good many respects of late.
But he still must know in his heart, even if he does not admit it,
that in the past six years nothing except the sending of an American
expeditionary force to China could have prevented ultimate Com-
Distinguished American military men— including at least one Re-
publican—have testified that the Chinese Nationalists did not lose for
want of supplies or American support. Their armies were large and
better equipped than the Communist armies. They had every physical
Has my opponent forgotten the wise words of the most responsi-
ble Republican of them all, Senator Vandenberg? Here is what Sena-
tor Vandenberg said in December, 1948, on this subject of China:
"The vital importance of saving China cannot be exaggerated.
But there are limits to our resources and boundaries to our miracles.
... I am forced to say that the Nationalist Government has failed to
reform itself in a fashion calculated to deserve continued popular con-
fidence over there or over here. . . .
"If we made ourselves responsible for the army of the Nationalist
Government, we would be in the China war for keeps and the re-
sponsibility would be ours instead of hers. I am very sure that this
would jeopardize our own national security beyond any possibility of
So spoke Senator Vandenberg, and his view was shared by in-
telligent and responsible men in both parties. Now who talked sense
about China? Senator Vandenberg or the General?
Then there is the question of "writing off" Korea. The General
condemns the Secretary of State's definition of our defense perimeter
in 1950. But the General fails to point out that this defense perimeter
was a line developed by the military authorities themselves.
Surely it is a gross and discreditable distortion to say that the
Secretary of State took the lead in this matter. Twice in 1949 General
MacArthur, then our top commander in the Pacific, defined our de-
fense perimeter in the terms later used by the Secretary of State. It
was on the recommendation of our military authorities that Korea
and Formosa and mainland areas were not included in a direct mili-
And I am frankly astonished that my great opponent stooped at
Cincinnati last week to the practice of lifting remarks out of context.
Why did he quote only a part of what the Secretaiy said?
Why did he skip the Secretary's further pledge that, if there
should be an attack on these countries, "the initial reliance must be
on the people attacked to resist it and then upon the commitments of
the entire civilized world under the Charter of the United Nations"?
The United States Government thus clearly announced its deter-
mination to seek United Nations' action against aggression.
The true significance of the Secretary's remark, therefore, is that
the military situation made it necessary for him to do what he could
diplomatically to give some assurance of our interest in the security
of the Republic of Korea.
Why does the General not only skip this but distort the whole
meaning of these developments? And how does he honestly square
this campaign-time charge of writing off Korea with his own state-
ment in July, 1950, that "when our Government guaranteed the Gov-
ernment of South Korea, there was no recourse but to do what Presi-
dent Truman said and did"?
I deeply regret the necessity for this recital. I was prepared to
ignore the political license and false charges of extremists and re-
actionaries. But I cannot ignore them now when they are uttered by
the Republican nominee himself, a man personally identified with
and presumed to be intimately informed about the recent course of
our foreign affairs.
Nor do I list these mistakes in judgment and errors of prediction
in order to lay any personal blame on the General. I would never have
brought these things up had he not pointed the accusing finger. Many
Americans of both parties made the same mistakes. Better we refrain
from competing in denouncing each other in a scramble for votes,
admit our common mistakes— and get on with our business.
Let's talk sense. Let's admit that mistakes were made. America
did demobilize too rapidly and too severely. America did allow the
Russians to develop an undue superiority in conventional arms and in
ground forces. Perhaps this country should have given a direct mili-
tary guarantee to the Republic of Korea, and it might well have been
wiser if American forces had not crossed the Thirty-eighth Parallel
in the fall of 1950.
There is another curious example of my opponent's uncertainty
that is worth noting.
At Abilene, Kansas, on June 5, shortly after his return to this coun-
try, he said that: "There has been built up behind the Yalu River a
very definite air strength that would make very dangerous any at-
tempt to extend the war at this moment, until we have a bigger
build-up of our own."
Three months later the General says this: "I have always stood
behind General MacArthur in bombing those bases on the Yalu from
which fighter planes are coming."
What kind of straddle is this? On one occasion he is against
bombing across the river. And a little later he is for it. I confess I
This seems to me to be too serious a matter for such wandering
But enough about the past, and even about the past inconsisten-
cies of my opponent. I have always agreed with Winston Churchill
that if the present tries to sit in judgment on the past it will lose the
future. The important thing is to draw the right lessons from the past
and to get on with the job.
One lesson which I had hoped that most of us had learned from
the past is an understanding of what the present threat to our free-
dom really is. I thought that my distinguished opponent of all Ameri-
cans would agree that this threat is the threat of world communism.
But it develops that he has now adopted the theory of Senator
Taft, who unsmilingly states that the greatest threat to liberty today
is the cost of our own Federal Government.
It is surely fundamental to the making of wise policies to decide
whether the threat to the United States is internal or external. Either
the threat to our security is world communism or it is not.
This is surely more than the differences of degree which, accord-
ing to Senator Taft's statement following the peace conference on
Morningside Heights, are all that separate him from the General on
It is not a question of degree whether we measure our defense by
an arbitrary budget or measure our budget by the needs of survival.
If we should follow out this theory that the threat is internal, we
would undertake the deliberate and systematic weakening of our-
selves and our allies. And such a policy of national weakness and
international weakness can lead to a single result; that is, to invite the
expansion of Soviet power.
By adopting this theory, the Republican candidate has reversed
the advice of Theodore Roosevelt to speak softly and carry a big stick.
The new advice is to talk tough and carry a twig.
You saw this policy proposed a year ago for Asia when some
Republicans wanted it. It was proposed again for Europe by those
isolationists who would reduce our aid to our allies and our own
defense appropriations and simultaneously speak with "cold finality"
to the Soviet Union. This is the policy of tougher words backed up
with smaller armies.
I wonder if the General realizes the full implications of the agreed
statement issued by Senator Taft. Senator Taft has evidently re-
assured him by saying that their differences in foreign policy are just
differences of degree.
Differences of degree, indeed!
Is it a difference of degree to be for or against the North Atlantic
Is it a difference of degree to blame the Korean war on Stalin or
on our own President?
Is it a difference of degree to be for or against the strengthen-
ing of our allies?
Such differences of degree may well turn out to be the difference
between success and disaster— between peace and war.
Tough talk about communism will not deter the Soviet Union
from new adventures. The thing which will save the world from war
is American strength, and real strength need not be loud or belliger-
ent, nor is it just a matter of our national strength alone. It is equally
the strength of the free world— the strength of the nations which
stand between us and the Soviet Union.
Strength is the road to peace. Weakness is the road to war. This
is the simple truth of peace and war in our times. The Democratic
party has been consistently the party of strength— and thus the party
With equal consistency, the opposition has been the party of
weakness— the party which persists in the dreary obsession that we
must fear above all, not the Kremlin, but our own Government, and
it gives evidence of pursuing, once in power, a policy of weakness
which would demoralize the free world, embolden the Soviet Union to
new military adventures, and, in the end, pull down the world into the
rubble and chaos of a third world war.
Let's talk sense to the American people. Peace is far more impor-
tant than who wins this election. Whichever party wins, the Ameri-
can people must be sure to win. Let us not place victory in a political
campaign ahead of national interest, and let's talk sense about what
we have gained by our determination, our expenditures and our valor
We have not merely said, we have proven, that communism can
go no further unless it is willing to risk world war.
We have proven to all the peoples of the Far East that commu-
nism is not the wave of the future, that it can be stopped.
We have helped to save the peoples of Indo-China from Com-
We have smashed the threat to Japan through Korea and so have
strengthened this friend and ally.
We have discouraged the Chinese Communists from striking at
We have mightily strengthened our defenses and all our defen-
sive positions around the world.
We have trained and equipped a large army of South Koreans
who can assume a growing share of the defense of this country.
We have blocked the road to Communist domination of the Far
East and frustrated the creation of a position of power which would
have threatened the whole world.
We have asserted, and we shall maintain it, that whenever Com-
munist soldiers choose freedom after falling into our hands, they are
We have kept faith with our solemn obligations.
These are the values won by the fidelity and prowess and the
sacrifices of young men and women who serve their country. We have
lost many of our beloved sons. All Americans share in the bereave-
ment of so many mothers and fathers, of wives and sweethearts. The
burden lies heavily on us all. We pray God that the sacrifices and the
sorrows will soon end.
I would say one thing more about the great debate over our
My opponents say the threat to our liberty comes from within.
I say that the threat comes from without— and I offer the fate of
the enslaved peoples of the world as my evidence.
My opponents say that America cannot afford to be strong.
I say that America cannot afford to be weak.
I promise no easy solutions, no relief from burdens and anxieties,
for to do this would be not only dishonest, it would be to attack the
foundations of our greatness.
I can offer something infinitely better: an opportunity to work
and sacrifice that freedom may flourish. For, as William James truly
said, "When we touch our own upper limit and live in our own high-
est center of energy, we may call ourselves saved."
I call upon America to reject the new isolationism and to surpass
her own glorious achievements. Then we may with God's help de-
serve to call ourselves the sons of our fathers.
Questions and Answers
September 8, 1952
Q: Do you favor the creation of a T. V. A.-type authority in the Colum-
bia River Basin— if not, what kind of administration?
A: I do feel that the problem of machinery of administration isn't
one that can be readily settled by any generalizations or any firm fixed
or repeated patterns. What might be desirable in one section of the
country might be ineffective elsewhere. I wouldn't say for a moment
that T. V. A. was the solution for the Columbia River problem.
Q: Do you approve of ostracism of Democrats because they were
active for Kefauver or other candidates during the pre-convention
A : Of course not. I certainly know that we have no Democrats to
spare in Oregon. They will not be ostracized. You will remember that
when my name was put on the Oregon primary ballot against my will,
I asked the Oregon voters not to vote for me but to support Kefauver.
They certainly voted according to my request in the primary. Now if I
ask them to vote for me in the November election, I hope they will be
just as obedient.
Q : Is it your opinion that either political party can give assurances
of liberation to the captive peoples behind the Iron Curtain within any
A: I shall answer that question in one syllable— No. It is a very
difficult question to present to me. I should like to talk about it for a hall
an hour. The inference that a war of liberation— to liberate the captive
populations behind the Iron Curtain— seems to me one of the most mis-
chievous ideas that has been injected into this campaign. Mischievous
not only in the sense of misleading, but in the sense of positive danger
to the people attempting to be liberated.
Q : Do you favor a bipartisan cabinet in the event the international
situation should worsen?
A: Well, I will say this. I think the use of coalition government or
bipartisan cabinet appointments, that sort of thing, should depend upon
the competence and availability of personnel rather than on the device
to bring about a greater degree of unity in this country politically.
120 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Certainly in the event of danger, in the event of an emergency, in
the event of war, it should be possible for our people to unite in their
common interest without making a factor that they are essentially
political in their character.
Q: Assuming a settlement of the armed struggle in Korea, should
the United States recognize the People's Republic of China as the de
A: It would seem to me that there would be very great opposition
to that recognition. On the other hand, I point out to you that once
we had resolved our difficulties with our enemies in this and previous
wars, notably in the case of Italy, we recognized them rapidly. It is im-
possible for me to speculate on this question— I think any question— in
view of the uncertainty of the circumstances of the struggle at hand, or
the recognition as to the de facto government to be presented to us.
Q: Should U. N. give that government the permanent seat allotted
to China on the Security Council?
A: I don't think the time will ever come when any country will
shoot its way into the United Nations. That the seat should remain
vacant and not occupied by a government no longer in existence would
Q: What disposition should be made of the status of Formosa?
A: We are pretty much agreed politically now that it is part of
our defense perimeter in the Pacific and should stay under our jurisdic-
tion, or the jurisdiction of the United Nations or under someone we
Q: How would you move to bring our trade with other nations
into balance, thus making it possible to reduce or end financial aid to
A: Personally, this is one of the most difficult, most practical and
most pressing problems this country will comprehend. Today with the
major effort for military production we are undergoing now, we are
going to have to find some substitute for dollars abroad. That substitute
will be creating markets here and abroad, how I don't know. They have
lost the east-and-west trade by the Iron Curtain, which we insist on
keeping shut. To refuse to trade east and west normal routes— this
comes very close to putting a finger on the most perplexing problem
facing us in the next few years.
The Control of Inflation
Fifth Regiment Armory
September 23, 1952
Senator O'Conor, Mayor D'Alesandro, distinguished guests, my friends
I am deeply grateful to you, Senator, for your kind and generous intro-
duction, and I am reminded by the presence here this evening of Sena-
tor O'Conor that the Republicans voted in committee 5 to 1 against
the bill proposed by Herbert Hoover's Commission and recommended
by President Truman to reorganize the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
And I am as a citizen deeply grateful to you, Senator O'Conor, for
the job that you did on the floor of the United States Senate to insure
the passage of that bill.
And yet it's the Republicans who say they want to put everything
right in Washington.
Now, I find myself tonight tempted— tempted to stray from a path
I have followed now for more than a month.
Day after day, and night after night, I have tried to talk about
public questions: international policy, farm policy, labor policy, civil
rights, atomic energy and many others.
This road has led me through some twenty states from coast to
coast. It has been lined with great numbers of people, friendly people,
people who nod encouragingly when you try to talk to them intelli-
gently and from the shoulder.
But, strangely enough, my friends, this road has been a lonely
road because I never meet anybody coming the other way.
My temptation tonight is to talk not about more issues but about
this road itself, about our campaign, how it is going, and how high
spirits are. For I know now, with the beat of my heart no less than
with the certainty of my mind, that this is going to be another vic-
torious year for those of us who believe in the positive principles of
the Democratic party.
We know now that we face, in the party of the opposition, a sadly
divided command. The G. O. P. elephant has two heads nowadays.
And I can't tell from day to day who's driving the poor beast, whether
Senator Taft or the General.
122 THE CONTROL OF INFLATION
And the sad thing is that the poor beast doesn't know itself. But
as Americans first and political partisans second we find no satisfaction
in this state of affairs in a year when our country faces choices of
leaders, choices of attitudes, choices of policies of such enormous con-
Instead of the confident, positive purpose there is indecision,
uncertainty and compromise in an effort to reconcile the irrecon-
The internationalists and the isolationists, the liberals and the re-
actionaries—and the end product is loud denunciation, epithet and
abuse of Democrats, which seems to be about the only thing that they
can agree upon. But I say to you that that will lift no hearts, and that
will feed no hungry minds and that will win no elections.
And so, it seems to me, that each day their statements of position
move in like a new fog bank from a troubled sea. I doubt if America
will entrust its future, its hopes, to the masters of a house divided
against itself— to men so divided in their own thoughts that they can-
not, or will not tell us where their party stands on America's pressing
And about the only place they appear to stand is squarely on the
Democratic policies. Frankly, the thing is getting a little embarrassing
as there's hardly room for the Democrats on the Democratic platform
But at the same time they say the authors and the executors of
Democratic politics are rogues and rascals, or timid and stupid men
who should be thrown out and promptly replaced by the Republicans
who fought all of these very same programs. I don't get it.
But I shall yield no further to the temptation of indignation. There
are still issues, questions, public questions of the utmost import, to be
faced. I try as best I can from city to city to discuss them one by one
and to express my views forthrightly. Not confident that I am always
right, or even wise, but certain that you are entitled to know my views
right or wrong.
And tonight, here in Baltimore, I want to discuss another and a
very important issue— inflation. In plainer terms it is the issue of
whether we are going to be able to pay our grocery bill and keep up
with the mortgage or the rent on the house.
Whether you have a boy of draft age or one in Korea the problem
of peace is first in your mind and in your heart. But this problem of
prices is another ominous cloud which hangs heavy on our thoughts.
As far as the Government is concerned it must give both problems top
I want to talk particularly to whoever in your family does the
shopping and keeps the budget. I'm thinking especially, too, of those
family budgets where only one of the two ends ever move because all
THE CONTROL OF INFLATION 123
of the income is from savings or pensions. White-collar workers, school
teachers, also face a special problem here.
Somehow this question always recalls to me the story of the
harassed young husband who was having a devilish time making both
ends meet. And he used to say that every time he was about to make
both ends meet, his wife moved the ends.
If our question is what we are going to do about inflation, we
must first be sure we understand the causes of it. Those who let their
policies impeach their honesty tell you that inflation is the product of
governmental waste and mismanagement. Whether this is legitimate
politics I shall not presume to say.
But as an explanation of the causes of inflation, it is poppycock.
It's like a husband coming home, coming into the kitchen, and seeing
one potato peeling that is too thick and exploding that now he knows
why his wife can't make both ends meet. I'm for the Government peel-
ing its potatoes with a sharp knife and a miserly eye. Now I've done
some sharp and miserly peeling myself in Illinois. But I'm not going
to fool myself or you that meeting a nation's inflation problem is that
simple. Prescribing a patent medicine with a good taste for a growth
which may become malignant is dangerous practice. And this is the
kind of politics which assumes the people are fools and places party
victory above national welfare. I shall do neither.
The cause of inflation can, I believe, be made plain. Let's stay in
the kitchen a moment. It is as though we were making bread and
while we answered the phone a malicious neighbor dumped a whole
cup of yeast into the bowl. That's the inflation story. In fact that is
We have inflation today, not disastrous, but serious because the
gods of war, working through their agents in the Kremlin, have
dumped a barrel of yeast into the bread of our economy. If they have
not, and the General seemed to disagree with me on that in Cincinnati
last night, perhaps he will tell us what and who has caused the large
defense expenditures. In my innocence I thought all the time that it
was the Communist threat to peace.
American industry has been suddenly called upon to make tens of
billions of dollars' worth of guns and planes and tanks and bombs. This
is the yeast which causes inflation.
These unexpected demands mean that the prices of steel, alumi-
num, machine tools and so on and so on as well as of labor go up,
unless something is done about it, because the supply of these things
is limited. Those who have them to sell can demand more for them
because the Government must have the end products. The supply of
consumer goods is diminished because factories which make rollei
skates are now making gun assemblies.
The other side of this picture is that those who buy have more to
124 THE CONTROL OF INFLATION
buy with and will therefore pay higher prices. The manufacturers have
orders for guns, so they can pay higher prices for steel and for labor.
Consumers, you and I, have had increases in our incomes, so we will
pay more for roller skates if we can find them.
Now if this then is our problem, what can we do about it? Do we
just have to sit back and let prices and wages keep chasing each other
up and up?
If I sense rightly the mood of people today they are ready to say:
"We want these increases to stop— and we mean business."
And if we do mean business, I say that we can get results.
Telling you what I have in mind is a little dull— for I haven't any
trick ideas up my sleeve. This job takes courage and it takes common
sense. It has to be a partnership job with the people and the Govern-
ment working together.
Let's not talk in generalities. It seems to me there are four things
the Government has to do.
First, there is the necessity of the Government's cutting its non-
essential expenditures to the bare bones of safety. It is the biggest
spending agency in the country and every dollar it spends adds to the
inflationary pressure. It must spend every penny as though it were a
$5 bill; and it must not spend a single penny for anything that is not
needed right now.
And this is going to mean a strict auditing of every payroll in the
Government and slashing every piece of administrative fat. I've been
through this process in Illinois and I know what it means and how
difficult it is.
This is going to mean no pork-barreling while our economy is in
its present condition. If your principal interest in life is getting a new
federally financed boondoggle for your state you had better vote for
And that, my friends, is no idle threat because I've vetoed more
appropriations than any Governor in the history of Illinois and I kind
of like the exercise.
Perhaps it's a little unfairness in there, but of course I've always
suffered from a Republican Legislature.
We will have to make most of our savings in the military depart-
ments. About 85 cents out of every dollar that the Government spends
goes now for paying the costs of past wars and of preventing another
one. I know one can't buv national security at a bargain counter. And
I emphatically reject the idea that national security must be adjusted
to a tax ceiling rather than taxes to national security.
For this is to say that we propose to continue free and independ-
ent if it doesn't cost too much. And I don't believe either in the theory
that military budgets are sacred and untouchable.
In short, I warn you that the tightest- fisted Government economy
THE CONTROL OF INFLATION 125
conceivable won't meet this problem of inflation while rearmament is
unfinished. Despite the Republicans, our budget is determined more
by the Russians than by the "bureaucrats." And I say to you that de-
spite the Republicans we are going to survive even with sacrifice rather
than perish cheap.
So it seems to me that the next thing that the Government has to
do is to keep itself just as close as possible to a pay-as-you-go tax
standard. When we pay for these guns by borrowing money we con-
tribute to inflation. When we collect taxes to pay for them we help
I don't like taxes. I doubt if anybody does. I shall do everything I
can to reduce them. But I shall make no promises that I know I cannot
We must spend to be safe and taxes are better than inflation. I
shall not favor reducing taxes until we are getting in a dollar to cover
every dollar we spend. And I'll bank on the American people, I'll bank
on them even in an election year to understand straight talk and the
need for a balanced budget in this country.
Now in the last six years since the end of World War II financing,
the Government's net receipts have been $4,000,000,000 more than its
expenditures. We have reduced the Government debt by $11,000,-
000,000. No man in the United States has worked harder for a pay-as-
you-go policy than President Truman, or received, I think, less credit.
The Republicans in Congress have, on the other hand, fought this
pay-as-you-go program every inch of the way.
In 1951, for example, the Republicans in the House of Representa-
tives voted 3 to 1 against raising more money to pay our current war
production bills. These were votes for inflation, for they meant borrow-
ing to pay these bills. It is hypocrisy for these men to present them-
selves now as the defenders, or even the friends, of your dollar.
The third thing that the Government must do is to prevent exces-
sive private borrowing, for that can be just as inflationary as excessive
Government borrowing. Some buying on credit is all right— like buy-
ing a house and paying on the mortgage instead of for rent.
Some of it is necessary to keep business active. But some of it can
go much too far. I shall hope to be able to work with the Congress
to prepare a set of restraints upon excessive private credit which will
keep the money market on an even, non-inflationary, keel.
And finally, there is the matter of direct controls— on prices, wages,
rents. I don't like them, I don't think many people do like controls.
But if the alternative is a steady rise in our food, clothing, rent and
other living costs, then we must have them.
Yet, I'm convinced from what I know of the situation, and I make
no pretense whatever of being an economist, that these laws are oper-
ating as essential brakes upon an economy which would otherwise get
126 THE CONTROL OF INFLATION
out of hand. I shall favor retaining the controls we now have until
prices stop going up. And if they don't stop before January 1, I think
the situation should be re-examined and Congress should take further
steps to stop it.
Now this will mean, if it has to come, tighter wage controls as
well as tighter price controls. I don't know whether the wage and
price increases which came out of the steel case this year were re-
quired by what had happened elsewhere in the economy or not. But
I do know that many people see in that case a further impetus to
It brings into sharp focus the question of whether the price and
wage loopholes aren't becoming bigger than we can afford. We just
can't be either pulled or pushed any further into the twisting cyclone
of inflation. I have, however, a deep belief in a free economy.
I believe in free men, free markets, freedom, if you please,
to succeed or to fail. And I look forward anxiously to the time
when these casts on our economy— these price, rent, wage controls-
can come off.
I cannot tell you when that will be, for I can only guess as to the
Kremlin's future course of conduct or of misconduct. I can only say
that I believe, with the modern doctors, that a healthy, but tempo-
rarily fractured economy, like a healthy patient, should get out of bed
and get active again as quickly as possible.
Now my friends, I wish I could tell you how my position on this
question differs from my opponent. But I can't. I don't know. He has,
however, permitted the astonishing statement to be made for him that
he agrees with Senator Taft on all matters of domestic policy. And
Senator Taft's record as a leader of the inflationary shock troops in
Congress is clearly written.
The great majority of Republicans in Congress voted to end rent
control. They voted, too, to end the controls on steel, copper, alumi-
num and other vital defense production materials. Four times a ma-
jority of the Republicans in both the Senate and the House voted to
end controls on all things consumers buy.
This is the Republican position on inflation.
This is the record the Republican candidate has bought. It is a
record the nation refused to buy when it was made. It is a record the
Republican party refused to buy in Chicago last July. The General,
in his present extremities, may have to accept this kind of counterfeit.
But the American people won't do it.
We offer you, in place of this record, a four-point program of
strict Government economy, of a tax program kept as nearly as possible
on a pay-as-you-go basis, of restraints on excessive private credit, and
of direct price, wage and rent controls as temporary pontoon bridges
between abnormal and normal times.
THE CONTROL OF INFLATION 127
I think such a program, supported in good faith by both the Con-
gress and the executive, can stop inflation without stopping the
healthy, normal growth of our economy.
The people must, however, do their part of this job. If this system
of ours works as well as you and I think it does, the battle against in-
flation will be finally won, not in the bureaus of Government, but in
the fields, in the factories, in the union halls, in the stores and in the
homes of America.
The ultimate defense against high prices is more production, more
production of food and houses and steel, and of everything we buy.
And we are building that defense every day. We have raised our food
production to half again what it was twenty years ago. We have tripled
our output of goods and services of all kinds.
Our production capacity today has been so increased that when
our defense production levels out, we can turn to a full production of
consumer goods which will provide the fullest defense against infla-
tion. And we will use that production, too, all of it.
In the meanwhile, we all face questions which we can, as indi-
viduals, answer either for or against inflation.
This is true of the directors of a manufacturing company when
they vote on a proposal to expand their plant's capacity.
It is true of the members of a labor union when they vote on
whether to demand a wage increase or on what it is to be.
It is true of the storekeeper when he is deciding whether to go
through his shelves and mark up his prices.
It is true of the housewife as she debates in her mind whether to
save or spend what is left from last week's pay envelope.
It is a dangerously wrong feeling that what individual people do
on points such as these won't matter. America's decisions are made this
way— in millions of little pieces.
There is one other thing for us to do as individuals. Inflation
feeds on fear of inflation. We know what scare-buying does. The pres-
ent situation demands our serious attention, but it warrants no panic
or alarm. Prices are up. But so are wages and so are profits. So long
as we are living better than we ever did before, inflation has not
reached our vitals.
We must remain on our guard. What this job takes is just com-
mon sense, calmness, and courage.
I have approached this subject with you tonight as straightfor-
wardly and as seriously as I know how. Inflation will not be driven
out by campaign orators flapping their arms at it like scarecrows.
I am convinced in my own mind, and I think you are in yours,
that when the Republican leaders, after sabotaging every anti-infla-
tionary measure in Congress during the past two years, reach out this
fall to put a consoling arm around the American housewife, and
128 THE CONTROL OF INFLATION 7
whisper in her ear that this is all somebody else's fault, that won't de-
Most of us are people of small or at least modest incomes. We
could be hurt badly, a lot of us, by just a very little more inflation. Our
interest in stopping rising prices is as real as tomorrow night's supper
and new overcoats for the children this winter. We are not fooling
and we are not going to be fooled.
The time has come for us to draw a line and say to the forces of
inflation "You cannot cross that line." With your help I would like to
do just that.
... About Adlai Stev
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA
3 0112 072581710
"I don't believe the Democratic party has ever had a candidate better qualified to be
President of the United States than we have this year in Adlai Stevenson of Illinois/'
PRESIDENT HARRY S. TRUMAN
"Adlai Stevenson has kept in close touch with the United Nations and served on the
United States delegation several times. As a result, Governor Stevenson has a better
world understanding than almost any other man in the country."
MRS. FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
"Governor Stevenson is one of the best- informed men on the United Nations in the
country, a first-rate man in every respect.' RALPH BUNCHE
"Stevenson promises to restore to the American tradition the finest element of genuine
liberalism." COMMONWEAL MAGAZINE, the National Catholic Weekly
"Stevenson is committed to retaining all the advantages which farmers have gained
during the last twenty years and to test and adopt new programs to enable farmers to
further their progress."
MURRAY B. LINCOLN, President, Farm Bureau Insurance Companies
"Adlai Stevenson has set a new standard for statesmanship, literacy and common sense
in his advocacy of the principles of democracy in this country and throughout the world."
SENATOR HERBERT H. LEHMAN
"Governor Stevenson is a personal friend in whom I have complete confidence. He is a
great Governor— a great and patriotic American and I believe he will be a great President
of the United States." JOHN S. BATTLE, Governor of Virginia
"Anybody can talk about corruption, but the man we need as President of the United
States is a man who knows how to do something about it. Adlai Stevenson has shown
that he can clean out corruption." ESTES KEFAUVER, Senator from Tennessee
"The interest of peace can best be served by the election of Governor Stevenson."
SERGEANT ALVIN C. YORK
"I regard Adlai Stevenson as both a great character and outstanding statesman of the
type this nation needs. His speeches are honest-to-goodness confrontations of our real
problems." HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK
'The forthright and unequivocal nature of Governor Stevenson's whole campaign has
convinced me that, if elected, he will give our country and the entire free world that
moral leadership so desperatel) needed in these critical times."" FRANK ALTSCHUL
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